Cancer Center receives $14M grant
By Krista Hopson / Health System Public Relations
The U-M Cancer Center has received a five-year, $14-million research
grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that will allow for
improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of head
and neck cancer.
With the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant,
the Cancer Center also will advance the use of chemotherapy for
an innovative preservation treatment approach pioneered by the center,
says Dr. Gregory T. Wolf, professor and chair of the Department
of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the U-M Health
“Our overall goal with this grant is to build upon our research
and translate it into effective treatments for our patients,”
says Wolf, the principal investigator for the SPORE grant. “We
want to give people a better quality of life by finding new ways
to preserve the structures in the mouth and throat affected by cancer.”
The grant will fund eight projects, built upon preliminary clinical
data, which will be multi-disciplinary and collaborative efforts
between the U-M departments of radiation oncology, otolaryngology,
pathology and internal medicine; the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor
Healthcare System; the U-M School of Dentistry; and Henry Ford Hospital.
Chuck Coté, a professional speaker who was diagnosed in
May 2000 with an advanced stage of throat cancer known as squamous
cell carcinoma, came to the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and
participated in a new clinical trial involving intensive chemotherapy
and radiation in place of surgery.
Now a cancer survivor, he wants to provide other head and neck
cancer patients with hope and a chance at a better quality of life.
To make that happen, he plans to work with researchers at the Cancer
Center as a patient advocate for the SPORE grant, which will allow
physicians to identify patients like Cot? and treat them without
“I always knew I’d make it through this,” Coté
says. “I had an incredible vision, all while going through
this treatment, that I would go on to live a long and healthy life.
Without the Cancer Center clinical trial, I don’t think I’d
be alive right now.”