Two SUNY medical campuses (SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Downstate) serving underrepresented minority communities with cancer health disparities are partnering with the NCI designated Cancer Center at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) to evaluate biological and genetic differences in GI cancers (colorectal and pancreatic) that may link to differences in cancer incidence and outcome observed in racial and ethnic minorities (URM). For the Cancer Research Program, we aim to augment the representation of underrepresented minorities in the collection of biospecimens and linked high dimensional ?omic datasets generated from these biospecimens. In this planning grant we plan to develop a SUNY Downstate GI Biobank that operates in parallel to the SUNY Stony Brook GI BioBank using standard operating procedures. We are planning the development of an integrative biomedical informatics platform that will link the biospecimens with longitudinal clinical data and with the data generated from these specimens. An initial step in the planning procedure is to develop a consensus of what data elements to include and for a controlled vocabulary. To increase community participatory research among racial and ethnic minority populations, we plan to leverage the resources and expertise of the SUNY Downstate Brooklyn Health Disparities Center(led by Dr. Moro Salifu) in developing community education and outreach programs in underserved communities with a high proportion of racial and ethnic minorities. The collection of biospecimens will be driven by two pilot research projects, P1 and P2. In P1, we propose to compare genomic and epigenetic profiling of URM colon cancers with non URM colon cancers. In P2, we propose to test the feasibility of adapting an innovative 3-D method to grow pancreatic organoids (miniature pancreas) from progenitor cells (developed in Dr. Tuveson?s laboratory at CSHL) from fine needle core biopsies of human pancreatic cancers collected at the two SUNY medical campuses. We plan to compare genomic and epigenomic profiling of URM pancreatic organoids with those of non-URM organoids. For the Training and Education Program, we are committed to improving the participation of underrepresented minorities in biomedical research and in increasing awareness of health disparities among established cancer researchers. In this planning grant the two SUNY medical campuses will partner with CSHL to create an integrated doctoral certificate program, Scholars in BioMedical Sciences in Cancer Health Disparities. This program is designed to engage doctoral students in translational medicine, particularly in cancer health disparities, by promoting in these students an understanding of the presentation, progression and treatment of diseases related to their area of thesis research. The track requires the addition of a clinical co-mentor to the usual student-basic science advisor team who will help guide the student's biomedical/clinical research and immerse the student in clinical experiences, vocabulary, and the overall culture of clinical research.

Public Health Relevance

In the US, individuals of African descent are at higher risk for developing GI cancers (colorectal and pancreatic) and also exhibit higher mortality rates for these cancers compared to individuals of Caucasiandescent. This grant will serve to build an integrative partnership between two SUNY medical campuses, Stony Brook and Downstate, and the NCI-designated Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories to study racial and ethnic differences in GI cancer biology. Along with community education and outreach programs, this partnership will improve our ability to collect the under-represented minority (URM) biospecimens that are critical for research addressing the disparity of URM populations and GI cancers. By integrating the education and training resources of these three institutions, we will increase the recruitment of students and investigators from cancer health disparity populations for training in translational research and emerging technologies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Davani, Behrous
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State University New York Stony Brook
Stony Brook
United States
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