Fellows complete 2 months of research in year 1, and 3 to 4 months in year 2. These months serve as a foundation to begin planning for external funding for pursuing a career in biomedical research or to provide time to write up projects into publishable manuscripts. It also gives clinicians the experience necessary to understand preclinical and clinical research literature. For fellows on the research track, the third year of fellowship is devoted to clinical or basic research.

Clinical research

There are organized multi-disciplinary clinical research programs in the areas of pulmonary, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast, and melanoma medicine, as well as leukemia, bone marrow transplantation, head and neck, and hemophilia disorders. Members of these clinical research groups are principal investigators in numerous Phase I, II, and III trials which are run locally or nationally. Currently, over 150 clinical research protocols are active, one-third of which were written by our faculty. Protocols encompass multi-modality therapy, neoadjuvant therapy, new drug development, biological response modifiers, new diagnostics, and tumor vaccines.

In collaboration with the basic immunology research program, monoclonal antibodies and other novel forms of immunotherapy are brought to clinical testing. Fellows will become familiar with these protocols and can participate in patient enrollment and data collection. Fellows may attend national research group meetings as relevant to their clinical research.

All faculty in the Section of Hematology-Oncology are active in several treatment groups including ASCO, ALLIANCE, ECOG, SWOG, Pediatric Oncology Group, Gynecology Oncology Group, and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Faculty hold a wide range of national administrative and academic positions including ASCO, ASH, and NNECOS.

Basic science research

There are more than 70 independently funded investigators in the Section of Hematology/Oncology and the Dartmouth Cancer Center. The investigators are organized into four research programs: Cancer Biology and Therapeutics; Cancer Population Sciences; Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy; Translational Engineering in Cancer. Fellows are encouraged to explore cancer and research opportunities in any of the organized research programs. In addition, career opportunities in decision analysis and outcomes research are available within Dartmouth College's J. Everett Koop Institute and The Dartmouth Institute (TDI) for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The goal of the Center for the Evaluative Sciences is to improve the scientific and ethical basis for clinical decision-making through outcomes research and the transformation of the patient-physician relationship toward the shared decision model.

Basic research here is diverse. Examples of areas of investigation include:

  • Macrophage activation in cancer immunology
  • Gene activation in hematopoietic cells
  • Mechanisms of apoptotic death in tumor cells
  • Gene expression of multidrug resistance mediators
  • TGF-beta in tumor growth control 
  • Development of potential chemoprevention agents

The Developmental Therapeutics program was established in 1993 especially to enhance interactive and translational research directed toward improved therapeutic intervention, for both prevention and treatment of cancer. Fellows are encouraged to mentor those researchers who engage in such translational research efforts.

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