It was recently announced that the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Fox Chase Cancer Center will collaborate with the Pfizer Institute for Equitable Translational Medicine to identify new genetic drivers of cancer disparities in populations of African descent.
- The collaboration builds on the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium, a multi-institutional, transcontinental network of scientists, oncologists and healthcare professionals focused on understanding cancer risk and outcomes in people of African descent. .
- The primary objective of the study is to create an ethnically diverse patient cancer genome registry designed to expand existing resources and advance health equity through genomics, molecular epidemiology and determinants. social health research in oncology patients of African descent.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Fox Chase Cancer Center announced a collaboration with Pfizer’s Institute for Equitable Translational Medicine (ITEM) to initiate Cancer Genomics Study to characterize novel genetic, molecular and social determinants of cancer in people of African descent.
“People of African descent disproportionately develop aggressive, high-grade cancers, particularly in breast and prostate tissue, and the underlying determinants are not well understood,” said Sophia HL George, PhD, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Sylvester. Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, and co-lead of the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) Women’s Cancer Task Force. Despite high unmet need, there are a limited number of statistically-based research studies to investigate cancer risk and outcomes in people of African descent.
In order to fill these knowledge gaps, this collaboration will create a clinical genomic registry of biological samples accompanied by epidemiological, behavioral and clinical data from patients of African descent diagnosed with breast and prostate cancer. Leveraging the global reach of the AC3 network, the team will recruit patients from ethnically, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse subpopulations across the African diaspora: US-born black patients and US-resident immigrants, patients from moderate and low income countries in the Caribbean islands, and patients from western, eastern and southern countries of the African subcontinent.
The scientific objectives of this study include 1) the identification of rare somatic and pathogenic genetic factors of the cancer germline using matched tumour-normal whole exome sequencing, 2) the determination of hereditary cancer risk using gene panel testing in known cancer factors, 3) characterization of hormone receptor status using immunohistochemistry, and 4) indicating major socioeconomic and lifestyle factors influencing cancer outcomes in patients of African descent.
“We created the Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine to achieve health equity by preventing, treating, and identifying drivers of disease that disproportionately affect underserved and minority populations nationally and globally. Our goal is to use data to help better understand the drivers of health inequalities,” said Aida Habtezion, MD, MSc, FRCPC, AGAF, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Worldwide Medical & Safety at Pfizer. “We are excited to collaborate with Fox Chase Cancer Center, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium to begin to fill the gaps in applying scientific knowledge to disparities in cancer incidence, prevalence and outcomes. diseases for cancer patients of African descent.
“This registry will allow us to conduct studies that will add to the limited data available for Blacks, including genetics, genomics, and gene-environment interaction studies that will help fill specific knowledge gaps in the literature. addressing aggressive diseases in cancer patients of African descent,” said Camille Ragin, PhD, MPH, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Fox Chase and Co-Lead and Founder of AC3.
The study will include cancer patients from Fox Chase Cancer Center, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama, University of Augusta in conjunction with Morgan State University, as well as nine international AC3 research sites in the Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Namibia and Trinidad and Tobago.
“This is a very big effort and is only possible because of our longstanding working relationships with AC3 site managers like Valerie Odero-Marah, PhD, of the historic Black Morgan State University, who is co- leader of the AC3 working group on prostate cancer. , and Ann Korir of the Kenya Institute of Medical Research, co-lead of the AC3 Working Group on Women’s Cancer. The only way to achieve this type of coordinated effort is for everyone in the AC3 network to play and lead their part,” Ragin said.
“We want to enable African and Caribbean researchers to ask questions collaboratively across the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean so that we can conduct projects that affect our populations,” George said, “It’s exciting because the way the collaboration was designed, there is equity in who participates, who leads and who is at the center of the project.
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