Roswell Park Awarded More Than $6 Million in Moonshot Funds to Lead New Data Management Resource
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Through a grant award provided by the Cancer MoonshotSM, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will support and advance some of the nation’s most ambitious cancer research projects. A cross-disciplinary Roswell Park team submitted the winning application to establish and house a Data Management and Resource-Sharing Center to serve the Immuno-Oncology Translational Network (IOTN), which directly responds to the goals of the Moonshot, and was awarded $6.28 million to cover the cost of creating and maintaining this resource for five years.
The competitive award marks the second major allocation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that Roswell Park teams have earned in the space of a week — bringing $25 million in new federal funds to the Buffalo–Rochester medical research corridor.
“As the nation’s first Comprehensive Cancer Center, there is no place more prominent in cancer research history than Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center right here in Western New York,” says Congressman Brian Higgins. “And these significant NCI awards affirm the confidence placed in Roswell Park as the future of cancer research in America. With this Moonshot award, Roswell Park leads collaboration and information sharing efforts toward the ultimate goal of better treatments and faster cures.”
The IOTN Data Management and Resource-Sharing Center (DMRC) at Roswell Park will serve as the overall coordination, administration, data-integration and resource-sharing hub of the IOTN. A major national resource, the Center — to be led by four Roswell Park faculty members — Alan Hutson, PhD, MA, Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, Martin Morgan, PhD, and Song Liu, PhD — will provide technical and logistical support and resources to 13 other Cancer Moonshot sites within the IOTN network.
Drs. Hutson and Odunsi have also been named as inaugural Chair and Co-Chair, respectively, of the Steering Committee appointed to govern the IOTN, which fulfills one of the core action items identified when the Cancer Moonshot was launched in 2016: to create a network to speed development of new immune-based cancer treatment approaches and prevention strategies and expand the number of people who can benefit from immunotherapy.
Roswell Park’s strengths across many areas — including biostatistics, bioinformatics, software development, data science, immunotherapy, immune analysis, biospecimen management, genomics and cancer prevention — were an outstanding fit for the broad and intensive needs of the projects this center will support, says Dr. Hutson, the Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. Another critical resource for this work is the University at Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research, led by Thomas Furlani, PhD, which will provide high-performance computing and data storage.
“Cancer science is now a data-driven science, and computational methods are now a fundamental part of cancer research,” says Dr. Hutson. “Fifty years ago, it was a test tube and a beaker. Now it always includes a computer and a quantitative scientist.”
“The concept behind the Cancer Moonshot was to achieve a decade’s progress in just five years by uniting the best minds in cancer research, giving them the tools they need, sparking collaboration among them and using informatics and data as a linchpin to drive the whole process,” says Dr. Odunsi, who serves not only as Roswell Park’s Deputy Director but also as Chair of Gynecologic Oncology and Executive Director of its Center for Immunotherapy. “Roswell Park is proud to help lead every aspect of this transformational work and to contribute our expertise and resources to benefit cancer patients across the country.”
The NCI award supporting this work is project number U24CA232979. For more information about the Immuno-Oncology Translational Network and its role in the Cancer Moonshot, go to https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative/funding/upcoming/iotn-foa-video.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@roswellpark.org.
Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager