Georgia Tech researcher part of NIH-funded multicenter genetic study of prostate cancer in African men
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers led by Joseph Lachance are participating in a multicenter genetic study of prostate cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa seeking new information about the genetic causes of prostate cancer.
Men of African descent suffer disproportionately from prostate cancer compared to men of other ethnicities. So, researchers from 11 institutions in the U.S. and Africa will look at genetic susceptibility and population genomics of prostate cancer in men of African descent.
Specifically, the study hopes to provide new information about the genetic etiology of prostate cancer and evaluate how population differences and history of African and African American populations affect the underlying reasons for high rates of prostate cancer in African Americans.
Lachance, a Petit Institute faculty member and his lab will use their expertise in population genetics and computational biology to focus on the evolutionary genomics of prostate cancer in African populations.
“It is important to know which populations and ancestries have a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer and to understand whether these health disparities are due to natural selection or neutral evolution,” said Lachance.
The five-year study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is led by principal investigator Timothy Rebbeck, professor of medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and professor of cancer epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“Aggressive prostate cancer is the form of the disease that is the most important to control,” said Rebbeck. “African descent men, including African Americans, seem to have biologically more aggressive forms of prostate cancer than other groups. By studying African descent men, we may also learn about aggressive prostate cancer so that we can better prevent and treat the disease.”
The participating centers, part of an international consortium called Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate, include: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston); 37 Military Hospital (Ghana); Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York); the Center for Proteomic & Genomic Research and Clinical Laboratory Services (South Africa); Hȏpital Général de Grand Yoff (Senegal); Korle-Bu Hospital (Ghana); National Health Laboratory Services (South Africa); Stellenbosch University (South Africa); University College Hospital (Nigeria); as well as the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, the Stanford Cancer Institute, and Georgia Tech.
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