Cancer Disparities-Focused Pilot Awardees Announced

The Office of Cancer Disparities Research of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC)  has made pilot award selections following a recent RFA. The awards are an effort to stimulate research designed to both improve understanding of contributing factors to cancer disparities as well as develop and test interventions for reducing and ultimately eliminating them. Selected disparities-focused projects were recognized as highly innovative and impactful, and likely to generate key data for larger, nationally competitive grants. Each project will be granted $50,000 in seed funding.

Portrait of Monica Webb Hooper
Monica Webb Hooper, PhD

Innovations to Prevent Relapse among Low-Income African American Smokers

A team led by Monica Webb Hooper, PhD was chosen to investigate "Innovations to Prevent Relapse among Low-Income African American Smokers." Webb Hooper is associate director for cancer disparities research and director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research in the Case CCC and professor of oncology, family medicine & community health and psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She is joined by co-investigators David B. Miller, PhD, associate professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU and Ming-Chun Huang, PhD, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at CWRU.

Dr. Webb Hooper's pilot aims to estimate effect sizes for a culturally specific relapse prevention intervention compared to standard relapse prevention in a sample of low-income African American smokers and examine predictors of time to smoking relapse. Smoking relapse prevention research is imperative at this time as little is known about effective methods and no previous trials have focused on African Americans. 

Functional Immune-Phenotypes underlying Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer

Dr. Stefanie Avril
Stefanie Avril, MD

Also selected for funding was "Functional Immune-Phenotypes underlying Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer" under the direction of Stefanie Avril, MD. Avril, a University Hospitals physician, is professor of pathology at CWRU and member of the Case CCC Hematopoietic and Immune Cancer Biology Program. Co-investigating the pilot project is Susan Pereira Ribeiro, PhD, instructor of pathology at CWRU.

Dr. Avril's investigation seeks to phenotypically and functionally delineate the immune status within tumor and peripheral blood of African American and white women with endometrial cancer and compare the immune and genomic differences in tumor and adjacent normal endometrium clinical samples. The research comes at a time when the incidence of endometrial cancer is projected to rise across all racial groups as the US is undergoing demographic changes leading to increased life expectancy and higher prevalence of risk factors such as obesity.