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Meharry/Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Partnership Awarded $14 Million Grant For Cancer Study

Project seeks to reduce cancer disparities among minorities

The Meharry/Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Partnership has been awarded $14 million by the National Cancer Institute for research that seeks to reduce cancer mortality among African Americans and other minorities. The renewal grant will provide $10 million to Meharry Medical College and $4 million to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The announcement was made by the Meharry/Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Partnership and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.

Dr. Samuel Evans Adunyah, professor and chairman of Meharry’s Cancer Biology Division and the College’s principal investigator, said the funds are part of a five year project that is a joint venture with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Dr. Harold L. Moses, Vanderbilt professor and director emeritus of the cancer center, is the principal investigator for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“This competing renewal award will empower our institutions to continue to play leading roles in the nation towards reducing cancer disparities among minority populations,” said Dr. Adunyah. “In doing so, Meharry will also partner with Tennessee State University (TSU) to develop key community outreach and prevention strategies to strengthen community center cancer education, behavioral modifications, and interventions that will ultimately lead to a reduction in cancer incidence and burden among our minority population.”

“Tremendous progress is being made against cancer, but our work is not finished until that progress is shared equally by everyone, regardless of their racial, ethnic or cultural background, or where they live,” said Dr. Moses. “We are pleased to be partners with Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State University to address the challenge and to eliminate the racial disparities in cancer incidence and death.”

According to Cooper, the project “will provide critical national leadership in the war against cancer and the continuing need for more research on health disparities. I congratulate Dr. Adunyah, Dr. Moses and everyone involved in the partnership on this important recognition and on the cutting-edge research they are directing here in Nashville.”

“The Center for Health Research at TSU is pleased to be a part of this initiative, which provides for an opportunity for scientists at Meharry, Vanderbilt, and TSU to forge new collaborative partnerships to help the Metropolitan Community and particularly the African American and Hispanic communities to reduce cancer disparities,” said Baqar A. Husaini, Professor at TSU and Director of the Center for Health Research. “TSU will focus on participatory community outreach efforts in these minority populations."

The Meharry/Vanderbilt-Ingram grant application was the only application to receive an “outstanding priority score” during the National Institutes of Health (NIH) competition with other competitive cancer center partnerships. The competition included applications from the University of Alabama at Birmingham-Morehouse School of Medicine Partnership and the Howard University-Johns Hopkins Partnership.

The grant funds will open opportunities to support a number of cancer research projects, recruit several cancer research scientists, epidemiologists, and oncologists to participate in the war against cancer and fund the Meharry Medical College Cancer Clinical Trial. It will also provide underwriting for training in cancer research for minority students in Ph.D., Master of Science in Public Health, Master of Science in Clinical Investigation, and Oncology Fellowship programs at Meharry and Vanderbilt and facilitate the development of a Tissue Bank and a Biostatics Core to support various cancer research projects.

Meharry Medical College is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black institution dedicated solely to educating health professionals. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services; and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. The rankings from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education annually list Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and PhD degrees in biomedical sciences.

Affiliated with Vanderbilt University and Medical Center in Nashville, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Center Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tennessee and one of only 39 to earn this highest distinction nationwide. Vanderbilt-Ingram includes a robust multi-disciplinary basic, translational, clinical, and population-based cancer research enterprise as well as state-of-the-art cancer care and clinical trials for adults and children with cancers, and a commitment to the community through cancer education, outreach and information.