May 20, 2010

UNM Cancer Center Receives Grant for Latina Breast Cancer Research


The University of New Mexico Cancer Center was named one of the leading institutions to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities program. The UNM Cancer Center will receive an estimated $1.5 million in partnership with Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for a $10.24 million, five-year study designed to understand and prevent breast cancer in Hispanic women.     Link

“Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of death among Hispanic women in New Mexico,” said Dr. Cheryl Willman, director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. “We are very excited to be part of this research with such esteemed institutions as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. We hope that this research can help to provide New Mexican women facing breast cancer with hope and relevant treatment options.”

Latina Breast Cancer Research

Research studies show that Hispanic women are more at risk for poor prognosis breast cancers including a triple-negative and HER2 diagnosis, which ultimately have higher fatality rates. The UNM Cancer Center will be involved in two of the four NIH funded projects which will include research on risk factors related to poor prognosis breast cancers in Hispanic women and the relationship of ancestry and risk factors to the development of specific tumor subtypes. The research will be led by Dr. Linda S. Cook, professor of internal medicine in the division of epidemiology and biostatistics and member of the UNM Cancer Center.

“We look forward to working with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and learning more about the breast cancer inequalities that impact Hispanic women. The UNM Cancer Center was chosen to be part of the research program due to New Mexico’s large diverse Hispanic population and our excellent research facilities,” said Dr. Cook. “The goal of the research is to determine why Hispanic women are prone to more severe cases of breast cancer. We hope to learn how we can eliminate these disparities and in turn improve the breast cancer experience for all Hispanic women diagnosed with the disease.”

The five-year initiative will involve approximately 30 investigators from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the UNM Cancer Center, and several collaborating institutions including the Seattle Care Alliance, the University of Washington and the Sea Mar Community Health Center.
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico, and one of only 64 National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers in the nation. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and more than 120 research scientists hailing from such prestigious institutions as M.D. Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic.

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Contact information:
Dorothy Hornbeck, JKPR, (505) 797-6673,
Rae Ann Paden, UNM Cancer Center, (505) 925-0480

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