University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Head and Neck Cancer SPORE


Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, FACS,
Co-Principal Investigator
Jennifer R. Grandis, MD, FACS,
Co-Principal Investigator

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Head & Neck Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) aims to improve detection and treatment of head, neck, and oral cavity cancers, and to understand the mechanisms of susceptibility to these cancers.

The SPORE includes four major translational research projects in head and neck cancer, a developmental research program, and a career development program. The Head & Neck Cancer SPORE uses an interdisciplinary approach to meet its objectives. Project co-investigators have expertise in basic, applied, and clinical science. The main projects are:

  • Project 1: Pathway and GWAS SNPs: Role in SCCHN Risk, Outcome and Treatment Response
  • Project 2: Inhibition of the STAT3 Signaling Network
  • Project 3: Cellular Immunity and Immune Escape from EGFR Antibody Therapy
  • Project 4: Therapeutic Mechanisms of Co-Targeting of EGFR and Src Family Kinases

The cores provide support for the main research projects, developmental research projects, and career development investigators to facilitate head and neck cancer translational research. The two SPORE research cores are the Histology/Tissue Banking Core (Core B) and the Biostatistics Core (Core C). The Administrative Core (Core A) provides scientific and fiscal oversight for the program. SPORE investigators work together as a team to meet the goals of the program and also interact with investigators from Head & Neck Cancer SPOREs at other institutions to improve outcomes for patients.