Cincinnati—The Department of Environmental Health at the University
of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and The Barrett Cancer Center
have received a five-year, $5.9 million grant from the National Cancer
Institute (NCI) to determine if specific genes may increase a person's
risk of developing lung cancer. This national study will take place in
Cincinnati and seven other medical research institutions in the US.
cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US and worldwide,"
states Marshall Anderson, PhD, director of UC's Department of
Environmental Health and principal investigator of the study. In 1998,
about 160,000 people in the US died from lung cancer compared to
140,000 deaths from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, and
it is estimated that more than 1.3 million people worldwide will die
from lung cancer in the year 2000.
According to Anderson, recent
research has shown that certain families have a cluster of lung cancer
cases and that this increased risk is passed from one blood relative to
another. These findings provide strong evidence for the existence of
one or more familial lung cancer genes, which in the mutant form causes
significantly increased risk for the development of lung cancer.
study will attempt to develop extensive family trees and collect blood
and tissue samples for genotyping from 80 to 100 families that have at
least three close relatives with lung cancer. A laboratory and
statistical genetic procedure, called linkage analysis, will help
identify chromosomal regions and subsequently, the gene or genes for
lung cancer. Similar studies have identified genes that predispose
families to breast and colon cancers.
"The identification of lung
cancer genes will have a significant impact on public health," says
Anderson. "It will allow for targeted efforts in smoking prevention
initiatives, smoking cessation programs, and avoidance of passive smoke
and other environmental exposures. Furthermore, it may play a major
role in the design and implementation of preventative medication trials
to reduce the risk of developing lung cancer and could lead to the
development of new therapies for the treatment of this disease."
type of translational research grant involving multiple cancer centers
is very important to the development of a comprehensive cancer center
at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center," says Kenneth Foon, MD,
director of The Barrett Cancer Center. "This study is possible with the
cooperative community effort of Oncology Hematology Care, Incorporated,
area hospitals, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the entire
medical community, which will be play an active role in patient
recruitment and biospecimen collection."
Along with UC, the study
will involve researchers at John Hopkins University, the Medical
College of Ohio, the University of Colorado Health Science Center,
Karmanos Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas
Southwestern, and the National Human Genome Research Institute.
local researchers who will be working on this study include Anderson,
John Winkelmann, MD, division director of hematology-oncology, UC
College of Medicine; Fred Lucas, MD, director of pathology, The Christ
Hospital; Susan Pinney, PhD, associate professor, and Jonathan Wiest,
PhD, assistant professor, UC's Department of Environmental Health; and
Mark Malloy, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
in which two or more relatives have been diagnosed with lung cancer can
call 513-584-4028 or 513-584-3120 to participate in the Family Lung