Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Research Program

Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.

Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D.

Debra L. Friedman, M.D.

Debra L. Friedman, M.D.

Program Description

Scientific Goals

  1. To establish and further develop population-based resources, including large-scale cohort studies with extensive data and biospecimen repositories, for research into the etiology, prevention, control and long-term outcomes of cancer.
  2. To identify environmental and genetic factors that may influence the risk and outcomes of cancer.
  3. To evaluate biomarkers that could be informative for cancer risk assessment, early detection and prediction of adverse long-term outcomes.
  4. To identify the incidence, prevalence, spectrum, and severity of adverse long-term health-related outcomes following cancer diagnosis and treatment and develop interventions to prevent or ameliorate such outcomes.
  5. To assess the magnitude and determinants of disparities in cancer risk and survivorship associated with race, gender, geography and other group characteristics.

Areas of Research Program Expertise

The Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention & Control Program (CE) seeks to provide information to understand the etiology, control and long-term outcomes of cancer and provide mechanisms for prevention. A variety of methodologic approaches are employed to achieve these goals, with significant interaction with other VICC programs, the clinical enterprise and community outreach. One of the key strengths of the program lies in the establishment and conduct of large cohort studies with extensive exposure data and biospecimen repositories that provide population-based field laboratories accessible to the entire VICC research community for the assessment of environmental and host factors for cancer occurrence, prevention and survivorship. The prospective cohorts each have sizeable components directed at understanding the roles of diet, nutrition and other lifestyle factors, while also providing biological samples for molecular epidemiologic studies of biomarkers, including genetic susceptibility factors and gene-environment interactions in cancer risk and progression. The populations in these cohorts are diverse, allowing for the measurement of cancer health disparities and assessment of their determinants. Program members are also carrying out some of the largest case-control studies of breast cancer and colorectal adenomas and are at the forefront of identifying genetic and other biomarkers for these common tumors. While the research carried out by CE members has addressed significant issues related to the epidemiology and etiology of multiple common cancers, particularly breast and colorectal cancers, there is now an increasingly significant focus on control and long-term outcomes. Indeed, CE is focused on issues facing patients along the Cancer Control Continuum, with the overall goal to decrease the burden of cancer for 1) the healthy and at risk; 2) cancer patients undergoing therapy; and 3) survivors, by developing a well-integrated program of systematic, hypothesis-driven, interdisciplinary research, education and advocacy linked to public health and clinical care. In pursuing these objectives, CE is closely allied with other programs within the Cancer Center, including basic and clinical science programs and the three VICC SPORE grants, with increasing cross-fertilization likely to enhance research in cancer prevention and control.

Program Members

Program members and academic departmental affiliations are listed below.

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