The SIG Beat

NEWS FROM AND ABOUT THE SCIENTIFIC INTEREST GROUPS

illustration of test tubes

New SIG: Asian American Pacific Islander Health Scientific Interest Group

The Asian American Pacific Islander Health Scientific Interest Group (AAPI-HSIG) is open to all in the intramural and extramural NIH community who are interested in research related to the health of AAPIs. The SIG provides a forum to foster scientific communication, share and disseminate information, facilitate collaborations, provide education, assess research needs, and make recommendations to NIH leadership that aims to stimulate research and improve the health and well-being of the AAPI population. Regular activities include monthly (or quarterly) meetings as well as research and education seminars (virtual or in-person). Other activities may include holding conferences and lectures in collaboration with other NIH groups and other Federal and non-Federal entities; conducting joint activities with the Federal Asian Pacific American Council; and encouraging extramural program staff to develop grant-funding opportunities. The SIG co-chairs are Dan Xi (program director, NCI) and Phuong-Tu Le (program analyst, NIMHD). Co-advisors include Kelvin Choi (senior investigator, NIMHD) and Xinzhi Zhang (program director, NCATS). For information, go to https://oir.nih.gov/sigs/AAPI-HSIG or contact Dan Xi (xida@mail.nih.gov).


New SIG: Precision Oncology Interest Group

Cancer is a constellation of diseases typified by the uncontrolled accumulation of cells. Given the diversity of the cell types that can be transformed, cancer can affect nearly every tissue and organ. Taking into account the variety of genetic variations, epigenetic influences, and environmental factors that drive the development of tumors, one quickly appreciates that any given cancer is essentially a patient-specific disease. From this perspective, precision in the treatment of cancer is essential in providing the best care for patients.

At the NCI-Center for Cancer Research’s (CCR’s) online PI retreat, held on March 17 and 18, 2021, clinicians, pathologists, principal investigators, staff scientists, and staff clinicians expressed an interest in creating a Precision Oncology Interest Group (POIG).

Short-term goals. 1) To discuss, plan, implement, and execute the current CCR initiative to perform standardized genomic analyses (RNA sequencing, exome sequencing, methylation analysis) on a large cohort of NCI patients; 2) to use these data to drive collaborative, predictive, prognostic biomarker discovery, and precision-therapy strategies for improving patient outcomes.

Long-term goals. 1) To discuss and implement best sample-acquisition and management practices to learn the most from any patient material; 2) to discuss and implement the best technologies and informatics to help discover candidates for targeted therapies with the goal of maximizing favorable outcomes for oncology patients; 3) to rationally design clinical trials in oncology with a focus on precise therapies that have the potential to maximize benefit and minimize side effects.

The POIG and its LISTSERV aim to foster effective communication across the basic and clinical research oncology communities and to harness the translational powers of the NIH to advance precision therapy across cancers. This POIG effort, initially proposed by Brigitte Widemann (NCI), will be co-chaired by NCI scientists Padma (Sheila) Rajagopal, Antonios Papanicolau-Sengos, and Art Shaffer; advisors are Eytan Ruppin and Kenneth Aldape. All are welcome to participate and contribute suggestions for discussion topics and speakers (including yourself, of course). For more information and to join the LISTSERV, go to https://oir.nih.gov/sigs/precision-oncology-interest-group.


New SIG: Cancer Metabolism Interest Group

The Cancer Metabolism Interest Group aims to provide a forum for individuals from NIH and the extramural community to discuss basic, translational, and clinical research related to metabolism and the intersection of metabolism with immunology. The wide scope of seminar topics will reflect the increasing recognition that the study of subcellular, cellular, and whole-body metabolism is relevant for understanding metabolic heterogeneity, drug resistance, diets in cancer, cancer biology, and tumor progression. The group will meet the first Monday of each month (virtually for now). Each meeting will feature one 60-minute presentation from an intramural or extramural senior scientist or two 30-minute presentations from trainees. Senior advisers are Mark Gilbert, M.D. (NCI-CCR) and Dan McVicar, Ph.D. (NCI-CCR). The SIG chair is Mioara Larion, Ph.D. (NCI-CCR). For more information, go to https://oir.nih.gov/sigs/cancer-metabolism-interest-group or contact Mioara Larion (mioara.larion@nih.gov).


For a full list of NIH SIGs, go to https://oir.nih.gov/sigs.