LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Reducing Disparities in Cancer Precision Medicine

cancer disparities

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Leslie Capo

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The National Cancer Institute has awarded LSU Health New Orleans and Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tampa a $2 million grant over four years to study cancer precision medicine with an emphasis on underserved minorities and to train students and junior scientists in cancer health disparities-based precision medicine research. The funding will be shared equally between the two institutions.

“Louisiana cancer mortality is among the worst in the nation, and many of these cancers are diagnosed in understudied, underserved patients,” notes Lucio Miele, MD, PhD, Director of the Precision Medicine Program at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and co-principle investigator. “Precision medicine is making tremendous advances in tailoring cancer treatment and prevention measures to specific molecular cancer subtypes. However, the patients who are most affected by cancer are often the ones with the least access to precision medicine studies. This leaves a huge gap in our understanding of how to plan cancer prevention and care, and risks worsening existing health disparities.”

The LSU Health Research team also includes Drs. Paula Gregory, Fern Tsien, Jovanny Zabaleta and Arnold Zea.

Adds Dr. Miele, who is also a professor and head of genetics at LSU Health New Orleans, “There is an acute need for investigators who will carry the torch into the future, investigate cancer health disparities and share their results with stakeholder communities. This partnership's goal is to address both these needs, by carrying on ground-breaking research on patient-derived cancers, as opposed to laboratory models, and by training students and junior investigators in how to rigorously and ethically conduct such research, as well as how to communicate its results to the community”

Dr. Cathy Meade is the co-principle investigator at Moffitt, and her team includes Drs. Teresita Antonia, Doug Cress, Clement Gwede and Gwendolyn Quinn.