Strong ties have developed between cancer researchers at Meharry Medical College (MMC), Tennessee State University (TSU) and Vanderbilt-lngram Cancer Center (VICC) resulting in this formal Cancer Partnership. Our Partnership is dedicated to enhancing the strengths and eliminating the weaknesses of our three institutions as we move toward our shared goal of eliminating cancer disparities in the US. The U54 award is the bedrock of this collaboration and has moved our collaborative research more forcefully toward a relationship that is based on reciprocity and stronger mutual benefit. The overall objectives of this competing renewal application are: (1) to increase and stabilize the competitive cancer research capability of MMC and TSU;(2) to create stable, long-term collaborative relationships between MMC, TSU and the VICC in cancer research, research training, career development and cancer outreach;and (3) to improve the effectiveness of VICC research, training, career development, cancer education and cancer outreach activities specifically designed to benefit minority populations in the region served by VICC. Funds provided by this U54 will solidify our collaboration. During this phase of our Cancer Partnership, we continue to concentrate on amassing sufficient infrastructure for cancer research that will strengthen reciprocity between MMC, TSU and VICC. In addition to funding two full projects and two pilot studies involving collaborators from all three institutions, funds will be used to recruit investigators to TSU and VICC and to strengthen infrastructure in basic, epidemiologic and clinical cancer research through the support of core facilities providing expertise in biostatistics, clinical trial accruals, histopathology and cancer outreach. All activities involve coordinated, well-planned interactions between MMC, TSU and VICC and will be monitored by an Internal Advisory Committee composed of members from each institution and a Program Steering Committee composed of external, nationally-recognized cancer investigators and representation from the National Cancer Institute. A sustained and comprehensive Cancer Partnership is of immense benefit to the three participating institutions as well as the mid-South region of the US. The institution's complementary strengths will help the Cancer Partnership establish effective cancer research and increase training opportunities at two minority-serving institutions enhance community- and population-based science research targeting minority cancer-related disparities and increase training of minority scientists at an NCI-funded Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Our Cancer Partnership provides an exceptional environment and focus for the efforts of diverse investigators working across many disciplines to identify the determinants of the disproportionate share of the cancer burden borne by African Americans, as evidenced by higher incidence rates and compounded by lower rates of relative survival. The conduct of minority-targeted cancer research, development of research infrastructure, enhancement of minority training programs and improvement to the capacity/effectiveness of cancer-related activities will help address these health disparities at the partnering institutions.
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