Making a difference in the community
Cancer is the most common cause of death in Oregonians, making cancer prevention and control key statewide objectives. Research within the Cancer Prevention and Control program is focused on reducing cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality through innovative approaches that translate knowledge from the bench to at-risk populations and communities.
Research is organized in three thematic areas to address strategic points along the cancer continuum:
- Prevention and Risk Reduction: Research in this area encompasses identification of at-risk populations, use of cross-species investigations to understand the basic biology of cancer risk, with an emphasis on dysregulated development and inflammation, and translation to humans including risk reduction through health-promotion interventions and chemoprevention.
- Early Detection and Screening: Researchers investigate ways to increase effective cancer screening with an emphasis on underserved populations, development and implementation of evidence-based screening guidelines and improving the performance of currently used screening tests.
- Survivorship: Research is organized into interdisciplinary programs that investigate:
- The mechanisms of cancer treatment-related sequelae
- Targeted therapeutic approaches to improve quality of life in cancer survivors
- Communication patterns among patients, families and providers from initial diagnosis to end-of-life decisions
Recent scientific impact in the Cancer Prevention and Control program include:
- Established national screening guidelines in breast, lung, and colon cancer.
- Developed standards for exercise trials in cancer survivors that have led to the incorporation of national exercise recommendations in survivorship care. Cancer Prevention and Control investigators were the first to demonstrate exercise as an effective countermeasure to treatment-related bone and muscle loss, weakness, fatigue, and weight gain.
- Pioneered the use of animal models to examine the relationship between cytotoxic chemotherapy, inflammation, fatigue, and cachexia.
- Led research to improve cancer screening practices among Asian-American immigrant, American Indian/Alaskan Native and rural populations.
- Uncovered novel mechanisms of increased cancer risk including genetic predisposition for UV-induced oxidative stress in melanocytes, nutrient regulation of histone deacetylase activity in prostate and breast, and COX-2-dependent stromal remodeling in breast cancer that are leading to targeted interventions.