USC Receives $12 Million Grant for Breast Cancer Research
There are over 2.8 million women in the United States with a history of breast cancer.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, it is the second most common cancer.
In the 2012 study, results showed that the breast cancer cases were found in Northern America and Oceania.
In fact, African-American women in the US are reported to have a higher mortality rate due to breast cancer than all the others around the world.
This is the issue that the Keck School of Medicine from the University of Southern California wants to study and address.
Because of this, the National Cancer Institute has awarded the school a research funding of $12 million, with the hope that understanding the genetics of breast cancer cases in African-American women will help in future prevention and treatment.
Christopher Haiman, a USC Keck School professor of preventive medicine said that their research has been built on the other studies conducted by USC.
Indeed, the University of Southern California has been extensively studying the different aspects of breast cancer – from finding better ways to detect them, from using microwave radiation for cancer treatment, to mathematically mapping out the path of the cancer.
In an effort to gain support and spread more information about their topic of study, Haiman has published findings and discoveries with groups like the African-American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium.
The professor is confident that, with the knowledge and technology they have at their disposal to assess the breast cancer genome in African-American women, better treatment and prevention is close at hand.
Together with Christopher Haiman are Wei Zheng of Vanderbilt University and Julie Palmer of Boston University.
The three researchers are pooling resources and data from the previous 18 studies on African-American women so they can identify and find out whether ancestry or genetic variations caused their increase in the risk of getting breast cancer.
The researchers won’t be working alone, as other scientists from five research institutions will be contributing information gathered from over 20,000 breast cancer case studies.
Stephen Gruber, director of the university’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that the aims of this study is a “new frontier in precision oncology” and that being able to identify the genetic areas that are more susceptible to breast cancer can help better assess the right treatments for their patients.
He expressed enthusiasm at the endless possibilities that can result from the study’s findings.
One of the reasons that make breast cancer difficult to treat and prevent is that it is actually made up of different disease subtypes, and, therefore, needs not just one type of treatment.
Also, there is a disparity among races.
The problem is, what makes them different is not yet known.
This is one of the driving forces of the study – to understand what makes one group of people more susceptible to breast cancer than others, so that medical authorities can address and solve the problem efficiently and effectively in the future.
Past studies were not large enough to provide substantial information for further breast cancer treatment, but the research by Haiman and his co-workers aims to gather data from a large population so that the results have a greater impact and influence on breast cancer prevention and treatment.