The Future of Prevention is in the Freezer
May 2013Dear Get In Front Supporter,
This month, in honor of Mother’s Day, we share a story about the meaningful way a daughter remembers her mother, as well as another story showing the power of women’s contributions to cancer prevention. We also introduce to you one of our newest studies focused on prevention of the most common male cancer. Finally, as May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Month, we bring you the latest news and information about melanoma, which is increasingly affecting both men and women. Thank you for keeping up with us!
CPIC Trustee Honors the Memory of Her Mother by Supporting CPIC
Meet Hilary Newsom Callan, CPIC Board Trustee and co-founder of the annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic benefiting CPIC, which took place last month. For over 14 years, through this annual event, Hilary and her husband Geoff have raised over $2 million for CPIC's work in breast cancer. Hilary has lost many family members to cancer and says she is motivated especially by her mother, Tessa Newsom, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2002. She keeps the memory of her mother alive by raising funds for CPIC's work in her honor. "Raising money and awareness for cancer prevention has become my passion," she says. "I will go to the ends of the earth to make a difference, especially when it means one less person will experience the excruciating and painful loss of a loved one. With all CPIC is doing to stop cancer, there's no other option than to jump on board and lend a hand, and I feel privileged to do so in honor of my mother.
Thanks to Thousands of Women, the Future of Preventive Medicine is in the Freezer
As part of our partnership with the Stanford Cancer Institute, CPIC scientists have a new forum for sharing their thoughts on cancer prevention and health, through contributions to the widely read Stanford School of Medicine’s blog, Scope. CPIC Research Scientist Christina Clarke, Ph.D., recently penned the third CPIC post, “The Future of Preventive Medicine is in the Freezer.” Dr. Clarke’s piece ranked among the most read on the blog, explaining the importance of blood specimens contributed generously by healthy California Teacher’s Study participants and how scientists at CPIC and partner institutions will use them to make discoveries about disease development and prevention. “For scientists, these ‘pre-diagnostic’ blood samples are likely to contain new biological clues of disease, perhaps molecular flags that cancerous cells are multiplying, or immunological rumblings as the immune system responds to the first signs of disease,” Dr. Clarke says. “Finding these signals is critical to future prevention, as they could represent the basis for blood tests or other means of ultra-early detection of disease.”
The Pipeline: Do Genes Related to a Man’s Internal Body Clock Affect Prostate Cancer Risk?
With new funding, a unique study to better understand prostate cancer risk led by CPIC Director of Research Ann Hsing, Ph.D., has recently launched. Variations in what are known as circadian-related genes may affect prostate cancer development. There are about 30 of these genes, which regulate the human body’s circadian rhythm, or “internal body clock.” Circadian rhythm, in turn, regulates the 24-hour cycle of biological processes. Through this study, Dr. Hsing and her team will determine if variations in these circadian-related genes put African Americans and Caucasians at higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Because African Americans suffer from a disproportionate burden of prostate cancer, to better understand this disparity, Dr. Hsing and her team will also determine whether the variations in circadian-related genes affect prostate cancer risk differently between Caucasians and African Americans.
Behind the Scenes at CPIC: Helping CPIC Win Research Grants
We regularly feature our latest grant awards, but winning grants doesn’t happen overnight. Multiple CPIC staff members collaborate in this complex process enabling our cancer research studies and, by extension, the findings that result from them. First, in response to a funding opportunity, a CPIC scientist sends CPIC’s Grants & Contracts (G&C) group the first pieces of a grant proposal, including a research project idea. G&C works with the scientist to develop the proposal and create a detailed project budget, studying and ensuring adherence to the particular and often-complex guidelines of the funding agency. After gathering and incorporating information from any research partners involved, G&C submits the proposal to the funding agency. If it’s considered for funding, G&C often must submit additional documents and negotiate terms before funding is finalized. “Our scientists generate brilliant ideas that need to be packaged carefully,” says G&C Manager Yelena Farberova. “If a proposal doesn’t meet funding agency requirements, a groundbreaking research idea could easily be overlooked and go unfunded, which is why our work in Grants & Contracts is so important.”
May Melanoma and Skin Cancer Prevention: Continued Policy Impact of CPIC Melanoma Findings
As we’ve reported previously, CPIC findings on increasing melanoma rates in young women influenced a 2012 California law that made the state the first in the nation to ban the use of UV indoor tanning beds for all minors under age 18. This has led to a growing trend, with other states following California’s lead – including New Jersey, just last month. The impact of the CPIC-influenced California law on other states’ legislation is helping to protect more and more minors across the nation from the carcinogenic effects of tanning bed use. It’s important for people of all ages to avoid tanning beds and other sources of UV exposure to reduce risk of skin cancers, which are the most common cancers in the U.S. For more information on how you can reduce your risk of skin cancer, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s skin cancer prevention webpage or listen to this CDC podcast on skin cancer prevention.
© Cancer Prevention Institute of California