University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Head and Neck Cancer SPORE


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

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Head and 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 (DRP), and a Career Development Program (CDP). The Head and 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 include:

  • Project 1: Chemoprevention of Head and Neck Cancer
  • Project 2: Optimization of STAT3 Decoy Delivery for Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
  • Project 3: Checkpoint Receptor Targeting to Enhance Cetuximab Efficacy against HNSCC
  • Project 4: Molecular Guided Risk Stratification of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer

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 Informatics, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics 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 and Neck Cancer SPOREs at other institutions to improve outcomes for patients.