CancerNYNJ Research Central - Research Facts

Researcher with beaker photo
American Cancer Society researchers have contributed to every major cancer research breakthrough including the development of Tamoxifen, establishing the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, increasing the cure rate for childhood leukemia, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Pap Test in the early detection of cervical cancer, originating bone marrow transplants and linking particular viruses with specific cancers.
 
Quick facts
The American Cancer Society research program has roots in NYC. Since the American Cancer Society research program began, back in 1946 in New York City, $3.8 billion has been invested in brilliant scientists across the country; $557,307,603 of that total was awarded to researchers in New York and New Jersey.
 
There are currently 102 grants at institutions in New York and New Jersey that total nearly $52 million.
 
Impact on childhood cancer
An estimated 12,000 children under the age of 15 are expected to be diagnosed
with cancer in 2012. Following are a few of the top scientists from NY and NJ, funded by the
American Cancer Society who are working to find the answers that will save lives
from pediatric cancer.
 
Jennifer S. Ford, PhD, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is
working to find the link between identity development and adaptation to cancer in adolescents. The findings of this research will be used to better understand the developing needs of adolescents with cancer as well as the lifespan of those who are cancer survivors.
 
Bing Xia, PhD, at UMDNJ is studying the inheritance of a gene that causes the
growth of tumors in the brain or kidney in early childhood. The results of this
study will help in developing new strategies to selectively target and eliminate
cancer cells.
 
Craig T. Jordan, PhD, at the University of Rochester received two American Cancer Society research grants to better understand leukemia stem cells and why some of those cells are resistant to chemotherapy. Results could lead to the development of new drugs that more effectively kill leukemia stem cells while sparing normal blood cells.
 
 
Impact on lung cancer
 
American Cancer Society funded research has contributed to a nearly 30% drop in lung cancer death rates in men over the past 20 years, and death rates in women are starting to decline after increasing for decades.
Graham Warren, MD, PhD, at Health Research, Inc., Roswell Park Cancer Institute is working to better understand nicotine’s effect on patients being treated for lung cancer. While many smokers quit during treatment, they often use nicotine replacement. This study is looking at the effectiveness of treatment in lung cancer patients exposed to nicotine during chemo and radiation and if those patients’ poorer results than patients not exposed to nicotine. Results of this study could lead to a change in smoking cessation recommendations for all cancer patients.
 
Impact on breast cancer
Breast Cancer Statistics, 2011, a report from the American Cancer Society Surveillance Research Department, found that breast cancer mortality rates continue to decline steadily, and that the drop in mortality since 1990 has been larger among women under 50 (3.2% per year) than among women over 50 (2.0% per year). The report also finds that a slower and later decline in breast cancer death rates among women in poor areas has resulted in a shift in the highest breast cancer death rates from women residing in affluent areas to those in poor areas.
Victoria Blinder, MD of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research is investigating ethnic differences in the impact of breast cancer on work, finances and quality of life.  Employment status after breast cancer is related to recovery from treatment and functional, psychosocial, and economic quality of life.  Although recently there has been increased interest in the return to work among breast cancer survivors, many questions remain unanswered, particularly with respect to differences in the rate of return to work and income among Caucasians and other ethnic groups.  This study will enable Blinder to answer these questions and identify barriers to and correlates of return to work among some of the largest ethnic groups in the United States.
Deborah Erwin, PhD, at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is investigating the effectiveness of an innovative intervention model -Esperanza y Vida (Hope and Life)-to increase knowledge of and screening for breast and cervical cancers by Latinas in Arkansas (rural) and the Harlem area of New York City (urban).
Katherine Crew, MD, at Columbia University, is studying the use of green tea for breast cancer prevention. A number of studies have reported that consumption of green tea may reduce the incidence of a variety of cancers, including breast cancer. Green tea contains polyphenols such as EGCG which a potent antioxidant and a major target of anticancer research.
 
Impact on colorectal cancer
Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures, 2011-2013, a publication from the American Cancer Society Surveillance Research Department, finds colorectal cancer the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US.
Charles E. Basch, PhD, at Columbia University, plans to evaluate the effectiveness of two programs that provide colorectal cancer screening reminders, separately and in combination: one directed to individuals (by telephone), the other directed to their primary care physicians (by in-person visit). We propose a 5-year study where Columbia University and the 1199 Service Employees International Union will collaborate to learn the best ways to increase colorectal cancer screening among its constituency. Results of the study will guide programs to increase colorectal cancer screening across the entire 1199 membership, and perhaps in other similar organizations serving hard-to-reach populations.
 
Impact on cancer survivorship
According to the American Cancer Society research publication, Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures, an estimated 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2012.
The goals of treatment are to “cure” the cancer if possible and/or prolong survival and provide the highest possible quality of life during and after treatment. For many patients diagnosed with cancer, the initial course of therapy is successful and the cancer never returns. However, many of these cancer-free survivors must cope with the long-term effects of treatment, as well as psychological concerns such as fear of recurrence. Cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors must have the information and support they need to play an active role in decisions that affect treatment and quality of life.
Jenny Lin, MD, at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, is studying breast cancer survivors' barriers to taking long-term hormonal medications, enabling her to create a course to increase medication adherence for breast cancer survivors in New York City. It will also allow her to teach medical students and physicians skills to improve their communication with cancer survivors.
Jennifer S. Ford, PhD, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is working to find the link between identity development and adaptation to cancer in adolescents. The findings of this research will be used to better understand the developing needs of adolescents with cancer as well as the lifespan of those who are cancer survivors.