This funding mechanism supports discrete, specified, circumscribed projects to be performed by the investigator(s) in an area representing his or her specific interest and competencies.

miRNAs/UCRs: Biomarkers for Cancer Risk, Tumor Detection, Progression and Treatment
PI: Carlo M. Croce, MD

This research focuses on developing microRNA and ultraconserved non-coding RNA (UCR) biomarkers for assessing cancer risk and for the early detection of five different epithelial cancers, including the four most common malignant tumors: lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. These common epithelial tumors cause so much death and fail to respond to treatment because they are often diagnosed after the malignant cells have accumulated a large number of genetic and epigenetic alterations and have acquired a "mutator" phenotype. The research uses microRNA expression profiles and UCR expression profiles of the major human epithelial malignancies these researchers have obtained over the past five years to assess whether microRNA and UCR dysregulation can be detected in the serum of individuals at risk for cancer or cancer progression. The goal is to develop non-invasive biomarkers of cancer risk and for early detection. Such biomarkers could also be used to track the success of therapy.

Identifying Non-Coding RNAs for Early Detection and Prevention of Lung Cancer
PI: Carlo M. Croce, MD

This research investigates the use of microRNA and lncRNA dysregulation in plasma as reliable and powerful biomarkers that can detect lung cancer long before it is clinically diagnosed.

Phase I Trials of Anti-Cancer Agents
PI: Michael Grever, MD

Phase I clinical trials represent the first time an experimental drug is used by humans. This phase I clinical trials program is designed to achieve safe, expedient and thorough dose-finding trials in humans. The goal is to provide safe and effective new therapies for patients with cancer. This effort builds on about 30 years of experience and the scientific strength of the OSUCCC in conducting clinical trials. The Ohio State University is one of the most comprehensive biomedical research campuses in the world dedicated to interdisciplinary research. Investigators associated with experimental cancer therapy come from the Colleges of Medicine, Public Health, Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Dentistry and Nursing.

microRNA Profiles of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer to Define Subgroups and Targets for Therapy
PI: Kay Huebner, PhD

Triple-negative breast cancers resemble cancers of BRCAl-mutation carriers and are frequent in young women and African-American women. Although PARP1 inhibitors, which target defective DNA damage responses, are promising treatments for triple-negative cancers, additional therapeutic targets for these aggressive cancers are needed. This research focuses on defining the microRNA expression profiles of triple-negative cancers that will identify altered signal pathways and specific target proteins that might lead to the development of rationally targeted therapies.

Interactive Omics: Black Raspberry Metabolites and the Oral Microbiome in Smokers
PI: Christopher Weghorst, PhD

The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a food-based cancer preventive strategy for high-risk populations that allows excellent long-term adherence and efficacy. The research involves much-needed studies in a neglected area of oral research: interactions between the oral microbiome and food-based phytochemicals. Outcomes of these studies will help in the development of food-based strategies for disease prevention, point-of-care diagnostics and biological metrics for successful treatment outcomes in smokers and other populations at risk for developing oral cancer.

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