Researchers and staff who contribute to growing cancer health disparities research and outreach.

UH Cancer Center awarded $5.5 million to address health disparities among Pacific Islanders

The University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year $5.5 million grant to support its ongoing partnership with the University of Guam, addressing cancer health disparities among Pacific Islanders in Hawaiʻi, Guam and neighboring U.S. Associated Pacific Islands.

“This award will support research to prevent cervical cancer, oral cancer and other cancers of regional significance,” said Professor Neal Palafox with the UH Cancer Center. “We look forward to pooling our collective knowledge, experience and resources in our ongoing efforts, together with the University of Guam and with communities across the Pacific region, to reduce the disproportionate cancer burden in Pacific Island populations.”

The partnership is directed by three renowned senior investigators at the NCI-designated UH Cancer Center—Palafox, Carl-Wilhelm Vogel and David Ward. The focus of the partnership is cancer research and outreach as well as other activities that facilitate cancer research such as student education in biomedical and biobehavioral research and career development for early stage investigators.

“This award will continue to support the infrastructure and the many research collaborations that we’ve established over the past 12 years, in addition to providing funds for new and innovative cancer research unique to the Pacific Region,” said Vogel, founding principal investigator of the University of Guam and UH Cancer Center partnership.

Research projects funded in the new five year cycle (2015–2020) include a health communications study designed to increase cervical cancer screening among Micronesian women in Hawaiʻi and Guam; an adult betel nut cessation intervention in Guam—the first of its kind—and a study to identify molecular components of Areca (betel) nut that promote chronic inflammation (in the immune system), an important role in carcinogenesis.

“Our betel nut research is of global and regional importance as study findings will inform future public health interventions and clinical recommendations for betel nut users in the Pacific region and worldwide,” said Ward.

Together with the University of Guam’s award of $4.1 million, the combined partnership award brings nearly $10 million in cancer research dollars to the Pacific region.

For more information, read the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center news release.

Source: A UH News story