"This is the largest single resource in the world to help determine what causes colon cancer and how to prevent it," said Robert Haile, DPH, professor of preventive medicine in the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the principal investigator for the USC consortium.
The registry, which was established five years ago, now consists of some 8,000 families in which at least one and, most often, several members have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Overall, said Haile, the registry has upwards of 15,000 colorectal cancer patients on its rolls. Each cancer patient fills out a questionnaire and gives blood samples (which are then made into blood cell lines for detailed study in the laboratory); in addition, pathology reports and tumor samples are collected by the registry.
"The first five years of the grant were used building up this incredible resource," said Haile, who is also chair of the registry's steering committee, which does all the decision-making for the registry and provides its scientific leadership. "Over the next five years, the emphasis is going to be more on the research components: on using the tissues and data collected to understand what causes colorectal cancer, with an emphasis on genetic factors and gene-environment interactions, and on launching prevention trials based on what we find."
This sort of research focus makes the colorectal cancer family registry unique, said Daniela Seminara, Ph.D., MPH, the registry's program officer from the NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. "This registry is particularly important becaus
Contact: Jon Weiner
University of Southern California