Two research studies to examine factors related to early development of breast cancer

Published on February 21, 2013 at 1:06 AM · No Comments

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and its System Partner Meridian Health are working together on two research studies to examine factors related to the early development of breast cancer. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a Center of Excellence of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The impact of genetics on the early development of breast cancer in both women and men is the focus of the Effect of DNA Variations on Breast Cancer Risk and Recurrence study. Previously, researchers at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey discovered that some genes may be associated with increased risk of developing breast cancer while others may actually protect against development of the disease. The aim is not only to identify genetic markers that may further explain why this happens and who may be affected, but also to understand why some breast cancers recur after treatment. Women and men aged 18 and older with no history of breast cancer, with a history of breast cancer, or with a history of a breast abnormality indicating increased risk for development of breast cancer are eligible to take part in the trial, though other criteria must also be met. Study participants will have blood drawn for laboratory analysis and facts about participants' breast health and overall medical history will be documented. Both the blood sample and the clinical information will be analyzed and saved for possible future use.

The Women's Circle of Health study focuses on the influence of health and lifestyle factors on the early development of breast cancer in African American women. Compared to Caucasian women, African American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and at a later stage, and have more aggressive features associated with a poor outcome. The reasons for these differences remain unknown. To address these issues, investigators are conducting interviews with study volunteers from nine counties across the state. Women meeting the eligibility criteria will be asked to give demographic and medical information, as well as reproductive, lifestyle and diet histories. Saliva and tumor samples also will be collected for molecular analyses. Participants do not need to take any medications.

Both studies are being offered at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick and at Meridian Health facilities. The Women's Circle of Health Study is being conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey State Cancer Registry and Roswell Park Cancer Institute and is supported by the National Cancer Institute (P01CA151135-01 - Ambrosone, Bandera).

"It is through volunteer participation that researchers are able to identify better ways to treat, prevent, diagnose and understand diseases such as cancer, which will result in improved patient outcomes," said Susan Goodin, PharmD, deputy director of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and associate director for clinical trials and therapeutics. "Our collaboration with Meridian Health permits more access to these trials and allows for more everyday heroes throughout New Jersey to step forward to help us accomplish this mission," noted Dr. Goodin, who is also a professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

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