In Louisiana, which has the second-highest proportion of African Americans in the country, there are significant disparities between Caucasians and African Americans in cancer incidence and mortality. Among any racial and ethnic group, African Americans have the highest rate of most major cancers, making it a serious health and human concern. While cancer rates in Louisiana are decreasing for Caucasians, state-specific Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data indicate that certain cancers are increasing among African Americans. Furthermore, Healthy People 2020 shows disparities among African Americans and Caucasians in cancer and other diseases to be a problem not only in Louisiana but also nationally. The proposed RCMI Center for Cancer Research will expand on our existing research infrastructure and enhance support for talented investigators to conduct innovative, collaborative research with translational potential. We expect the proposed work will position Xavier to become a leader in addressing this major health problem, especially in minority populations, and in eliminating health disparities.
The vision of the RCMI program at Xavier is aligned with the university's vision to achieve recognition by 2020 for our national prominence in research, particularly in the areas of cancer and health disparities research.
To build on and enhance faculty competitiveness at Xavier University's strengths in cancer and health disparities research in a manner that will not only lead to exciting new discoveries but also intensify our efforts to translate the results of these activities to the benefit of the public, particularly the underserved.
The RCMI program has selected 5 specific goals to increase research capacity:
- To Strengthen Internal and External Collaborations and Partnerships Particularly those that Promote Health Disparities and Translational Research.
- To Enhance Critical Core Laboratory Services.
- To Increase Xavier's Pool of Competitive and Productive Cancer and Health Disparities Researchers who Participate in the "Translational Research Pipeline".
- To Establish a New Pilot Project Program (PPP) for Cancer/Health Disparities Research.
- To Provide Targeted Administrative Services in Support of RCMI Investigators.
Xavier's RCMI funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) grant 2G12MD007595, which provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the tools and training they need to understand, detect, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. NIMHD supports all aspects of clinical and translational research, connecting researchers, patients, and communities across the nation. This support enables discoveries made at a molecular and cellular level to move to animal-based studies and then to patient-oriented clinical research, ultimately leading to improved patient care. NIMHD convenes innovative research teams and equips them with essential tools and critical resources needed to tackle the nation's complex health problems.