U.S. Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (USCACA，美中抗癌协会) is a non-profit professional organization founded in 2009. With members from academia, industry and government, USCACA facilitates collaboration among cancer researchers and physicians in the United States and China. Our current focus is on expediting novel cancer drug development by fostering clinical trial networks, sharing best practices and knowledge of clinical trial, and providing education and training opportunities between China and United States. USCACA collaborates with Chinese Anti-Cancer Association (CACA 中国抗癌协会), Chinese Society for Clinical Oncology (CSCO), and other professional associations. Our mandate is to improve cancer treatment through research, education, and collaborations in the region.
USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program
The USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program in Basic, Translational, and Clinical Studies is designed to provide stimulating and rewarding research opportunities for students, trainees, and basic research or clinical investigators in China who have interest in basic and translational research on human cancers. The program is ideal for those who are considering a short training experience¡ªfrom 6 months up to 2-plus years¡ªin the United States. The program is sponsored and administered by the USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program and is co-administered by home institutions in China. The participating laboratories and clinician-scientists at top U.S. institutions and cancer centers provide an excellent opportunity and environment for Chinese trainees to gain research and clinical translational experience under the mentorship of internationally recognized scientists and clinicians in the U.S. A list of participating mentors is available at our website: www.uscaca.org/
The program combines basic science, translational research, and clinical training to explore fundamental questions and develop critical skills related to laboratory investigation of cancer biology, clinical treatment of human cancers, and other aspects of cancer, leading to advancement of our knowledge of human cancers from findings in research laboratories and development of cancer treatments in the clinic. The strength of our program is the active participation of basic scientists, translational researchers, and clinical physicians who provide insights into and exposures to the basic and clinical aspects of biomedical science and clinical practice.
Our program is dedicated to the development of each trainee as an independent biomedical scientist and/or clinical physician. It is expected that the trainees¡¯ time will be devoted to laboratory research or clinic training. At the end of the program, each trainee will have to report his or her accomplishments in research or clinical training to the USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program and his or her home institution in China.
B. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
1. Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program in Clinical Training
a. Mentors in U.S.
Each mentor must have a medical degree (MD) or its equivalent, be a member of USCACA, and be a board-certified physician who is a faculty member at a major university medical center in the U.S.
b. Trainees in China
Each applicant must be a medical graduate from an accredited school approved by the Ministry of Health of the People¡¯s Republic of China. Applicants with experience in experimental medicine and clinical trials are desirable.
c. Financial Support
It is expected that the home institution in China will secure at least partial financial support for the applicant. The mentor or host institution in the U.S. will have supplemental funds to cover the rest of the cost, assuring that the applicant receives the necessary financial support sufficient for basic living in the host institution¡¯s area of the U.S. Applicants fully funded by the home institution in China will be given priority. For limited numbers of exceptionally outstanding applicants, the host institution in the U.S. and USCACA may assume the entire sponsorship if no funding is available from the home institution.
d. Duration of Training
The duration of training will be 3 months to 2 years or beyond depending on the training needs and funding situation. Short-term scholarships (1-3 months) for clinical trainees are also available on an individual basis. For trainees who apply for more than 6-month training, trainees will be expected to complete one manuscript ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal by the time of completion of the training.
e. Special Training Program Sponsor by the National Cancer Institute
The Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) of the National Cancer Institute is a major sponsor of clinical trials in the academic setting and through clinical trials cooperative groups. As a visiting fellow, the trainee will observe and be involved with the day-to-day operations of the Investigational Drug Branch of CTEP. The trainee will be asked to provide written review of certain incoming protocols under development, and asked to provide input for submitted Letters of Intent (LOI). The trainee will be present for internal meetings and for discussion between CTEP and pharmaceutical and biotechnology company presentations in evaluations of new agents, and in discussion with the FDA regarding the development of new agents. He will also be an observer to concept reviews, in which prioritization of cooperative group phase III clinical trials are determined. The trainee may also have the opportunity to visit the FDA, to see the day-to-day operations of the Oncology Drug Division. The experience the trainee will gain during his rotation will be invaluable to the trainee in his/her future career. Former fellows have reported that a CTEP rotation has provided them with crucial insight for preparing successful LOIs and preparing and conducing successful clinical trials. This experience can also be useful as an exposure to pharmaceutical and regulatory career paths.
2. Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program in Basic and Translational Research
a. Mentors in U.S.
Each mentor must have an advanced degree (PhD, MD, or MD and PhD), be a member of USCACA, hold an independent faculty position as a principal investigator (assistant professor or equivalent or above) at a major university, research institution, or medical center in the U.S., and have an active research program with sufficient research funding (intramural and/or extramural support).
b. Trainees in China
Each applicant must be a senior graduate student in a PhD program at a university or research institute in China or hold an advanced degree (PhD, MD, or MD and PhD) and work at a university, research institute, or medical center including hospitals in China. Applicants who are currently not in any of the aforementioned categories but are otherwise qualified should contact the Program Committee with strong recommendations from China.
c. Financial Support
It is expected that the home institution in China will secure at least partial financial support for the applicant. The mentor or host institutions in the U.S. will have sufficient funds to cover the rest of the cost, assuring that the applicant receives the necessary financial support sufficient for basic living in the host institution¡¯s area of the U.S.
The duration of training will be 3 months to 2 years or beyond depending on funding situation in each research laboratory. For the best result, a minimum 2-year commitment for both mentors and trainees is expected.
C. APPLICATION PROCEDURE
1. Mentors in U.S.
Potential mentors should contact the program committee of the USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program and enroll their program, which will then be listed on the USCACA website. Potential mentors will also be expected to periodically update the list of available positions in their laboratory. In parallel, the program committee will contact a potential mentor whenever a clear mutual interest (a ¡¡ãfit¡¡À) is identified.
2. Trainees and Universities, Research Institutions, and Hospitals in China
a. Trainees in China
Trainees interested in participating in this program will need to obtain recommendations from their home university, research institution, or hospital in China, complete the USCACA Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program application form (in addition to completing standard documents required by the host institution in the U.S.), provide a personal statement describing their research or clinical interests and career goals, and obtain two letters of recommendation from faculty members and/or mentors familiar with the applicant's academic and/or clinical performance.
b. Universities, Research Institutions, and Hospitals in China
Participating universities, research institutions, and hospitals in China will be members of CACA or recommended by the counterpart committee of CACA in China. They will be expected to screen applicants, recommend applicants, and administer the process of the application while the trainee is being considered such as assistance of visa application and after the training is completed such as assistance of re-assignment of the trainee.
3. Requirement of English Proficiency
Applicants will be required to demonstrate English proficiency. The program committee, the potential mentor, and the host institution in China will work together to ensure that individual applicants meet this requirement.
4. U.S. Visa
The U.S. mentor, the applicant, and the host institution in China will work together with the U.S. host institution to apply for the appropriate U.S. visa and ensure that the trainee maintains lawful visa status during the training.
D. OUTCOMES REPORTING AND THE SCHOLAR EXCELLENCE AWARD
1. Mentors in U.S.
Mentors will be required to diligently mentor and monitor the progress of the trainees under their supervision. A quantifiable outcome such as number of research publications or number of clinical cases handled or treatments administered should be reported and documented at the middle and at the end of the training.
2. Trainees from China
A full report of accomplishments during training is expected from each trainee at the end of training. Advancement of careers of the trainee as a result of participation of the program should be reported to the program when it is available.
3. Research Excellence and Honors
Trainees with outstanding productivity or accomplishments during the training period will be encouraged by their mentors to apply for the Scholar Excellence Award of the Scholar Exchange and Fellowship Program online. USCACA Scholars who win the Scholar Excellence Award will be announced on the website of USCACA each year, which will help drive future recruitment for our program and the mentors.
USCACA shall seek accreditation for this exchange program from the American Association for Cancer Research or the American Society of Clinical Oncology of the U.S. in order for the trainees to receive the academic training in U.S. or China. For those who receive the training at an U.S.-based institution, USCACA and the host academic institution in the U.S will issue a certificate of training.