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Research Programs

Discipline-based Programs

Cancer Epidemiology

Collaborative Interactions

Collaborative Interactions

Building a platform for collaborative research

Through participation in the DF/HCC, members of the Cancer Epidemiology Program have developed a wide range of new collaborations across disciplines and institutions.

One major platform lies in the Harvard cohort studies. This is complemented by additional case-control studies drawing on the patients in our cancer center and region. Before the expanded DF/HCC was established, there was little interaction between the cancer epidemiologists (primarily at HSPH and BWH), and the clinical and basic scientists at Harvard.

Our growing interaction within the DF/HCC over the past 5 years is most readily exemplified by our participation in organ-specific SPORES. Members of the program have participated in the development of projects with DF/HCC SPOREs in breast, skin, brain, gastrointestinal, prostate, lung, ovary, and kidney cancers. Of note, program members lead or co-lead the Ovary SPORE (CramerBWH,HMS) and the Lung SPORE planning grant (ChristianiHSPH,HMS), which  include projects that draw on the patient base of the clinical programs. Others participate in those SPOREs that were funded; while in those that were not funded, our members have initiated research projects growing out of the collaborations developed through the SPORE applications. In addition, through linkages to clinical programs, members of the Cancer Epidemiology Program have ongoing collaboration in program projects such as Dr. KelseyHSPH,HMS in a submitted mesothelioma program project Dr. David SugarbakerHMS,BWH, PI.

Through DF/HCC, the Cancer Epidemiology Program has developed a wide range of other collaborations across disciplines and institutions. These studies draw on cores supported through the DF/HCC and collaborations with colleagues in disease-based programs. DF/HCC fosters collaborations that bring Program members together to address program aims in an integrated, collaborative research environment.

  • The Cancer Risk Index members of the Cancer Epidemiology Program developed the Cancer Risk Index (#113), adopted for Web-based administration and used as the basis for collaborative publications addressing risk presentation, risk perception, and education of medical students about risk.
  • Lung cancer collaborative research addressing susceptibility to tobacco-induced lung cancer is linked to the Lung Program and takes advantage of recent advances in molecular epidemiology.
  • Oral cancer a case-control molecular epidemiologic study in the greater Boston metropolitan region investigates the role that genetic polymorphisms in metabolic enzymes have in development of oral cancer. This project studies the relationship among oral cancer, established risk factors, and diet.
  • Ovarian cancer a New England-based case-control study (CA054419) is identifying risk factors for ovarian cancer, mediated through depletion of ovarian germ cells and gonadotropin excess.