Pitt Researchers Awarded $4.2 Million to Continue Cancer Studies in Chinese Populations

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations

10/06/2014

Cancer epidemiologist Jian-Min Yuan, M.D., Ph.D., has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $4.2 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support the continued work of two studies examining how environmental and lifestyle exposures and genetics have affected the incidence, mortality and age-related outcomes of cancer in more than 81,000 Chinese men and women.

Dr. Yuan, associate director for Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with the UPMC CancerCenter, and co-leader of UPCI’s Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program, is the principal investigator of the Shanghai Cohort Study and the Singapore Chinese Health Study. For the two population-based prospective studies, researchers examine cancer and other major health outcomes by evaluating blood, urine and other samples collected from participants for more than 25 years. These studies already have yielded important findings about the causes and prevention of cancer and have led to chemoprevention trials underway in the U.S.

“We anticipate that the two Asian study groups will become even more scientifically valuable over the next five years as the younger members of these groups get older and have a greater risk of developing cancer, thereby increasing the number of pre-disease, biomarker-based research opportunities,” said Dr. Yuan, who also is Pitt’s Arnold Palmer Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention.

With the new award, Dr. Yuan and his collaborators hope to accrue 2,700 new cancer cases over the next five years. They also hope to:
  • Gather data to maintain and enhance the two Asian study databases, including follow-up for cancer, non-cancer and death outcomes; maintenance of the biorepositories; and management of the databases.
  • Conduct in-person and telephone interviews among participants to update exposure and medical information.
  • Collect blood and urine samples from participants with cancer diagnoses.
  • Engage in collaborative research projects of the NCI and the Asia Cohort Consortium.

“Having the ability to examine diseases in large populations is reshaping the way we approach diagnosis and treatment. We’re excited about the possibilities this research holds and what we’ll learn next,” said Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter.

This research is supported by the NCI under award number UM1CA182876.