This is a renewal application for the Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research between The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). The Partnership proposes structured initiatives to further enhance the research infrastructure within these two institutions to reduce the burden of cancer health disparities. Funds granted in this award will be used to support two full and one pilot research projects. The first full project examines the role of West African ancestry in prostate cancer risk and aggressiveness. Pilot data show an association of several ancestral genetic markers, body mass index, and socioeconomic status with higher-grade prostate cancer. The second full project focuses on magnetic nanoparticle based hyperthermia for ovarian cancer. Pilot project data show a marked decrease in the associated tumor size when treated with nanoparticles. The pilot study is a smoking cessation intervention in oncology clinics. Together, these projects comprise a multidisciplinary research portfolio representing the T l to T3 stages of the translational research continuum. Partnership funds will also be used to: 1) enhance existing collaborations and establish new collaborations; 2) restructure the training pipeline to include customized career development tracks for physicians, scientists and physician scientists interested in cancer medicine to accelerate the development of a critical mass of faculty for the UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPRCCC); 3) implement a cancer education curriculum; and 4) maintain and expand the Outreach Program, including core services and an outreach research project designed to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer among Puerto Ricans. Thus far, the Partnership has established a dynamic collaborative team that is working towards fortifying and stabilizing the developing infrastructure at the UPRCCC as evidenced by a newly constructed UPRCCC Research Center (opened 6/2009); the UPRCCC hospital will be completed in 2016. Funding for a second renewal is critical to cement and build on the substantial momentum and success achieved by the Partnership over the last ten years. The Partnership is poised to fulfill its long-term goal of positioning the UPRCCC to become a frontrunner in addressing health disparities that affect Hispanic populations across the cancer continuum (prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship).

Public Health Relevance

This renewal seeks to foster and support an existing collaboration between the UPR and MDACC. By addressing differences in incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of cancer that exist among Hispanic populations in the US, the Partnership strives to reduce these disparities through efforts in Cancer Research, Training, Education and Outreach. Partnership contributions will also aid in building a stronger national cancer program through the development of a pipeline of well-trained, Hispanic cancer researchers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1 (O1))
Program Officer
Vallejo-Estrada, Yolanda
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University of Puerto Rico Med Sciences
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
San Juan
United States
Zip Code
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