This competitive renewal of the Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research (Partnership) between the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) will: 1) solidify, strengthen, and expand the relationship between UPR and MDACC; and 2) leverage the breadth and strengths of an experienced and integrated Partnership in transition of the UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPRCCC) towards a long-term overall goal: recognition of UPRCCC as an NCI-designated cancer center. To address some of the most profound cancer health disparities in Puerto Rico and Texas, the Partnership will establish an Infection-Driven Malignancies Program for Advancing Careers and Translational Sciences (IMPACT). This application represents a partnership in which both institutions profit from sharing distinct expertise to mutually benefit in implementation of integrated team science, outreach, education and career development initiatives. To facilitate UPRCCC?s transition towards NCI-designation, the UPR PIs led the development of the specific aims with support of the MDACC PIs.
The Specific Aims for the renewal are: 1) Develop a multidisciplinary research portfolio focused on health disparities derived from infection-driven malignancies; 2) Increase the number of Hispanic students pursuing careers in laboratory and population- based cancer research to produce a critical mass of clinicians, scientists, and physician-scientists, who specialize in cancer research, with emphasis on cancer health disparities in underrepresented minorities and underserved communities; 3) Strengthen sustainable collaborations among all the stakeholders to develop and promote key community outreach, education, and interventions aimed at reducing cancer rates and emphasizing vaccinations against malignancy linked infections, among Hispanic/Latino populations in PR, TX, and elsewhere; 4) Leverage strategic collaborations with NCI-designated cancer centers to augment the cancer research capacity of the UPR and the UPRCCC; and 5) Provide professional support and development tools through the a) Administration; b) Planning and Evaluation; and c) Shared Resources Cores designed to nurture and optimize the Partnership?s research, education, and outreach agendas in support of the long-term goal of an NCI-designated Cancer Center. Key elements of this application to advance the Partnership include: 1) Multidisciplinary collaborative research projects focused on IMPACT that represent stages of the translational research continuum; 2) A comprehensive cancer-focused training and career development core; 3) The development of a dual MD/MPH degree to address specific cancers disproportionately affecting Hispanic populations; 4) Outreach efforts to build, educate, and advocate for broad HPV vaccination programs; and 5) a DATAOmics Core that builds infrastructure. This initiative will strengthen the overall cancer research enterprise in infection-driven malignancies in both PR and TX, and will support the implementation of UPRCCC?s roadmap to submission of a Cancer Center Support Grant (P30) for NCI designation.

Public Health Relevance

STATEMENT Hispanics have an increased risk of infection-driven malignancies, including gastric cancer and HIV- and HPV- related malignancies. To address the increased risk factors and burden of infection-driven cancers that exist among Hispanic populations in the US, the Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research strives to reduce these disparities through efforts in Cancer Research, Education, and Outreach. Partnership contributions, including the development of a pipeline of well-trained, Hispanic cancer researchers, will help build a stronger national cancer research and prevention program.

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