Columbia University Medical Center

New Grant Funds Neuroendocrine Cancer Research

The Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, in partnership with the Falconwood Foundation, has awarded Dr. Andrea Califano, the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Systems Biology and chair of the Department of Systems Biology of Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), a two-year $200,000 research grant. Dr. Califano’s research project is titled Ex Vivo Compound Prioritization for Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (also referred to as GEP-NETs).

If successful, this study will be used to tailor therapy for neuroendocrine tumor patients on an individual basis using the drugs that are most effective in targeting their specific vulnerabilities. To date, genomic studies have not identified mutations, as they have with other tumor types, to ultimately drive treatment decisions for neuroendocrine tumor patients.

This project follows the Columbia team’s identification of specific FDA-approved and investigational drugs that may target key tumor checkpoints responsible for driving progression of neuroendocrine tumors to metastatic disease. This new study aims to validate the ability of the most promising compounds from these analyses, including some that have already been validated in mouse models. Testing will be done using “tumor explants,” a technique developed by collaborators on this grant. They represent a new type of organotypic culture, which may more closely represent tumor biology. If successful, this project could help prioritize specific drugs for clinical trials for GEP-NET patients.

Click here to read details about this project, which is titled Ex Vivo Compound Prioritization for Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.