Since its inception in 2009, Xavier University's RCIVII Center for Cancer Research has been a driving force toward achieving the University's goal of becoming a national leader in cancer and health disparities research. We propose five alms in order to move closer to attaining this goal. (1) Strengthen internal and external collaborations and partnerships, particularly those that promote health disparities and translational research: building on existing collaborations with LSU, LSU Health Sciences Center, Tulane University and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center through active partnerships in the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium and the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, we will leverage research and mentoring resources in place and establish new ones via partnerships formed within Xavier and between Xavier and RTRN institutions. (2) Reorganize and enhance critical core facilities: we will down size one existing core, create a new core in drug discovery and delivery and add -a bioinformatics facility to our existing Cell and Molecular Biology Core. (3) Increase Xavier's pool of competitive and productive cancer and health disparities researchers who participate in the translational research "pipeline:" we will retain previously hired, now competitive, RCMI faculty, hire additional promising junior faculty in critical "gap" areas that will improve our capabilities in health disparities and translational research, and provide these faculty with the resources necessary to become/remain competitive. (4)Establish a new pilot project program for cancer/health disparities research: we will use a peer-reviewed mechanism to select projects that will increase Xavier NIH R01 and other R-series grants and support pilot translational research projects for preliminary data collection. (5) Provide targeted administrative services in support of RCMI investigators: we will assure that faculty needs are met with minimal burden, research programs and core services are integrated and encourage teamwork, and that faculty development programs promote professional growth and engagement in health disparities and translational research. Successfully completing these aims will be significant because it will increase the pool of researchers who can more quickly translate bench discoveries into public benefit, particularly in minority communities. The research projects supported by the present RCMI proposal will be innovative as we propose to utilize a programmatic structure involving partnerships with major research universities, an NIH-supported Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities and an NIH-funded center for translational sciences.
Cancer remains a major public health problem, especially among African Americans. Across the U.S., and particularly in Louisiana, the number of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths is significantly higher in African Americans than Caucasians. Xavier's RCMI Center for Cancer Research will continue to support research to improve health outcomes for individuals with cancer, especially those from minority populations.
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