The mission of the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program is to reduce the burden of cancer. The strategy for successfully fulfilling this mission requires the research activities of the entire continuum of basic discovery, translational and clinical research. To achieve this goal, CEP members focus on these three specific aims:
- Discover and characterize novel risk and causative factors for cancer development. CEP members employ traditional epidemiological methods and state-of-the-art methodologies to assess the effect of both modifiable and unmodifiable factors and the gene-environment interactions on the development of cancers.
- Discover and evaluate novel approaches for prevention of cancer occurrence. CEP members employ randomized clinical trial study design to evaluate novel anti-cancer natural compounds and anti-cancer vaccine against the development and progression of common cancers.
- Discover and validate novel approaches for cancer screening and early detection to improve cancer outcomes and reduce cancer mortality. CEP members employ state-of-the-art technologies to discover, evaluate and validate biomarkers in peripheral biological samples and modern radiographic imaging techniques for screening and early detection of common cancers.
Discovery of Novel Risk and Causative Factors for Cancer
Based on cancer burden and important environmental exposures identified by community outreach and engagement, CEP members focus on identifying and evaluating risk biomarkers of aging, early life exposure to obesity, novel dietary protective factors for cancer, and environmental and genetic interactions on the risk of cancer development.
The goal of the Cancer Prevention research group is to reduce cancer incidence. CEP members are evaluating the anti-cancer effect of MUC1 vaccine against colorectal cancer development and progression as part of a national clinical trial. Program members also made initial discoveries of chemopreventive properties of a cruciferous vegetable-derived compound (isothiocyanantes) in preclinical and observational studies, and are now conducting clinical trials to evaluate chemopreventive effects in the development of lung and prostate cancers.
Cancer Screening and Early Detection
The goal of this theme is to develop biomarkers for early detection and diagnosis of cancer at an early stage when effective treatment options are available, or for differential diagnosis of benign/non-lethal tumors from malignant/lethal ones. CEP members have made significant contributions to cancer screening and early detection and are leaders in the development and evaluation of state-of-the-art technologies, discovery and validation of novel biomarkers and imaging methods for the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. The ultimate goal is to reduce cancer mortality in common cancers in our catchment area.