Congratulations to Jessica E. Maxwell, MD, and J. Barton Rose, III, MD, MAS, FACS, upon being selected as the 2021 NANETS Clinical Science Investigator Scholarship Award (NCIS) Recipient and the 2021 Basic/Translational Science Investigator Award (BTSI) Recipient, respectively.
Dr. Maxwell was awarded the NCIS scholarship for her proposal, “Characterization of the Small Bowel Neuroendocrine Tumor Immune Environment.” An Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Maxwell says that “working on an immunophenotyping project is a natural marriage between two of my great interests – GI NETs and the role of the immune system in cancer patients.”
Dr. Maxwell hopes to develop novel immunotherapies that will extend patient survival. These agents have shown promise in other cancers. “There are clearly mechanisms at play that researchers and clinicians do not completely understand, and to determine which patients may benefit from existing therapies or to develop new therapies, a more complete understanding of the immune environment in NET patients is needed,” she commented.
The NCIS award encourages clinicians at the end of their fellowship or beginning of their faculty appointment to pursue a clinical career focused on neuroendocrine tumors. Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals has supported this grant since NANETS’ research grants program inception in 2010. Ipsen offers this award in honor of the late Edda Gomez-Panzani, MD for her dedication and work on behalf of patients living with neuroendocrine tumors.
Dr. Rose was awarded the BTSI scholarship for his proposal, “Molecular Influences of Racial Disparities in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.” An Assistant Professor of Surgical Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Rose has been involved in research for 20 years, with a focus on NET research over the past four years.
As the only comprehensive cancer center in the Deep South, Dr. Rose treats a diverse population, and nearly 30% of patients are Black. Having noticed differences in “the clinical presentation between our Black and White patients,” Dr. Rose sees “a huge need to pursue this line of investigation, especially when our early studies have suggested there are some genetic differences between these patient populations.”
By identifying the molecular drivers that are different for these groups, it offers the opportunity to discover treatments that are better and can potentially allow physicians to personalize treatment.
The purpose of the BTSI Award is to encourage scientists at the end of their fellowship who have secured a faculty appointment or scientists beginning their faculty appointment to pursue research focused on neuroendocrine tumors. This grant has been supported by the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) since 2016.