The University of Guam received an $8,000,000 five-year U-54 grant from the National Institutes of Health to support a strong national cancer program aimed at understanding the reasons behind significant cancer disparities and the impact on minority populations. The grant encompasses several objectives including:
- Increase the cancer research capabilities at the University of Guam
- Increase the number of minority scientists of Pacific Islander ancestry engaged in cancer research
- Provide pertinent undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education and training opportunities for Pacific Islander students
- Further strengthen the research focus on cancer health disparities with particular emphasis on aspects of particular relevance for the people of the Pacific
"The overarching goal is to reduce the impact of cancer on the population in the Guam, and the region," said Dr. Helen Whippy, UOG senior vice president and co-principal investigator of the grant. The projects funded by the grant include beetle nut and oral cancer research; breast cancer and obesity research; funding support for the cancer registry; an outreach program for youth tobacco cessation; and curriculum development in the Micronesian Studies masters program, cancer biology, and understanding the cultural context of cancer research.
The University of Guam opened the Cancer Research Center in 2004, supported by the University of Guam and Cancer Research Center of Hawaii research partnership and an initial $3.6M NIH planning grant which ended in 2009. The newly awarded grant continues support for the partnership.
"One of our goals is to continue to produce more cancer researchers of Pacific Islander heritage. I am pleased to announce that UOG alumna Yvette Paulino, who received funding from the cancer grant to pursue her doctorate, recently defended her dissertation for her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is now teaching at the University of Guam. With this new cycle of funding, we hope to produce more success stories like Professor Paulino," said Whippy.
"This grant positions the University of Guam to engage in more research to determine the causes of cancer disparities among our unique population," said UOG President Robert A. Underwood. "Our scientists will work with their counterparts from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii to pursue their research, raise awareness of cancer prevention, and other initiatives."