$15 million grant spurs cancer collaboration; M. D. Anderson, University of Puerto Rico

HOUSTON -- A $15 million award sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Minority Institution Cancer Center Partnership, will fund a collaborative research program between The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center.

"Research is a vital component in M. D. Anderson's mission to eliminate cancer throughout the world," said Margaret L. Kripke, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "It's important that we take that research out into the world, beyond the center's walls, to fulfill that mission. Our new relationship with The University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center is an important step in conducting research that not only applies to a specific population, but may be applicable to cancer patients in general."

The five-year grant will focus on research and other areas including diversity training, physician education and community outreach. The first research projects will address the molecular epidemiology of head and neck cancer, breast cancer and acute promelocytic leukemia.

"These activities will enhance cancer research capability and address the burden of cancer in minority populations, particularly Hispanics," says Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, M.D., principal investigator and professor of bioimmunotherapy at M. D. Anderson. "Findings from this research may enable us to develop ethnic-specific cancer prevention strategies in addition to allowing minority fellows and graduate students from both institutions the opportunity to be involved in multidisciplinary research."

Researchers from M. D. Anderson and Puerto Rico will visit the collaborating cancer center to present ideas for potential projects. Colleagues with similar interests are then partnered to address a particular disparity. Researchers communicate through regular videoconferences from more than 2,000 miles away to offer updates, implement new strategies and

Contact: Heather Russell
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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