Clinical and Basic Science Research
The third year of fellowship is devoted to clinical or basic research. This year serves as a foundation for pursuing a career in biomedical research. It also gives clinicians the experience necessary to understand preclinical and clinical research literature.
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 if interested can serve as protocol chairs.
The members of the Section are active in several treatment groups including the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), Pediatric Oncology Group, Gynecology Oncology Group , and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Members of the Section hold a wide range of administrative positions in CALGB, including membership in several committees such as lung, leukemia, breast, and transplantation. Each fellow will attend at least one of the CALGB meetings in order to become familiar with the processes of cooperative study. In addition, he or she will be involved in the management of patients on protocol students and be responsible, with the help of the data manager, for maintenance and evaluation of protocol records.
The VA Hospital in White River Junction, VT is presently the operations center for a VA Cooperative Studies Program trial of antiplatelet agents as adjuvant therapy in human malignancy.
Basic science research
There are over seventy independently funded investigators in the Section of Hematology/Oncology and the Norris Cotton 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 Center for the Evaluative Sciences and the newly formed J. Everett Koop Institute. 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 at DHMC is diverse. Examples of areas of investigation include: macrophage activation in cancer immunology; gene activation in hematopoietic cells; mechanisms of aptotic 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 specially to enhance interactive and translational research directed toward improved therapeutic intervention, both for prevention and the treatment of cancer. Fellows are encouraged to mentor with those researchers who engage in such translational research efforts.