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Research Programs

Discipline-based Programs

Cancer Genetics

Collaborative Interactions

Genetic Epidemiology

1. Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, HSPH

Director:  David Hunter, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Sc.D.,Vincent L. Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention

The Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology, based in the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), focuses on elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying cancer as well as other major chronic human disorders such as diabetes and osteoporosis, through wide-ranging collaborations with researchers at the HSPH, the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and other institutions. The Program houses the DF/HCC High-Throughput Polymorphism Detection Core Facility, and associated biostatistical analysis and bioinformatics.
Web site:  Will be available in March, 2006.

2. NCI BPC3 Study

The National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Breast and Prostate Cancer and Hormone-related Gene Variants Cohort Consortium (“BPC3 Study”) is a multi-institutional study of breast and prostate cancer risk in relation to genetic polymorphisms and gene-environment interactions that affect hormone metabolism.

The study comprises six large prospective cohorts:


Cohort I: Cancer Prevention Study-II (CPS) from American Cancer Society

Cohort II: Harvard Cohort Studies from Harvard University

Cohort III: European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer

Cohort IV: Multiethnic Cohort Study from the Universities of Hawaii and Southern California

Cohort V: Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial from the NCI

Cohort VI: Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study from NCI.

The BPC3 Study is a collaborative study using prospective plasma samples, genetic material, anthropometric measurements, and extensive questionnaire data on diet, physical activity, exogenous hormone use, smoking, and other lifestyle factors from over 740,000 men and women. In particular, 8,850 prostate cancer patients and 6,160 breast cancer patients are included in the study. The Study also includes extensive resequencing and haplotype definition on 55 biological candidate genes at three Genomics Centers: (1) Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH), (2) the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and (3) the NCI Core Genotyping Facility.

Information on variation and haplotype-tag determination in candidate genes in the steroid hormone and IGF pathway is available at http://www.uscnorris.com/MECgenetics/ and http://cgf.nci.nih.gov/cohort.cfm.