Research and Training Grants in Colon and Rectal Cancer

We support an Extramural Grants program that funds individual investigators engaged in cancer research or training at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the U.S. Following rigorous and independent peer review, the most innovative research projects are selected for support.

Spotlight on Colon and Rectal Cancer Grantees

Jennifer Weiss, MD, University of Wisconsin

Weiss is conducting research to inform the creation of a toolkit that will help healthcare systems nationwide increase their colorectal cancer screening rates.

Connie Arnold, PhD, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Arnold is testing different health literacy interventions to increase colorectal cancer screening among low-income and underinsured populations.

Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, PhD, University of Illinois

Tussing-Humphreys is exploring why obesity increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Obesity, especially in women, is associated with changes to the way the body metabolizes iron, which in turn leads to inflammation in the colon. To learn whether this chain of events is a reason that obesity increases colorectal cancer risk, she is investigating the effect of two diets designed to reduce intestinal iron exposure versus a control diet in obese women.

Mary (Nora) Disis, MD, University of Washington

Disis is trying to develop a vaccine that could help a person’s immune system prevent the formation of colon cancer. Disis and her team are working to identify genes that they could put into a vaccine that would spur the body to generate the type of immune cells needed to recognize and kill cancer cells just as they are starting to develop. Allred is researching the role of estrogen in the suppression of colon tumor formation. Allred is also studying dietary compounds that act like estrogen, called phytoestrogens, which may lead to the development of recommendations that will enable patients to alter their diet in an effort to reduce risk of colon cancer.

Amy Knudsen, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Knudsen is developing a computer model to explain why the colonoscopy is not as effective against cancers that develop in the right side of the colon. Based on her findings, she plans to use this model to develop new screening tests for colon cancer that could offer adequate protection throughout the entire colon. Importantly, Dr. Knudsen’s work will also inform future screening recommendations.

Paulette Chandler, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Chandler is conducting research to reveal the mechanistic links between nutrition and colorectal cancer risks.  She is studying the impact on the body of a Western versus Mediterranean diet. Her goal is to develop new therapies and dietary recommendations. 

Mikel Garcia-Marcos, PhD, Boston University

Garcia-Marcos is investigating a newly discovered protein linked to colorectal cancer. The protein serves as a tumor suppressor during early stages of the disease but during later stages it helps cancers metastasize. Marcos and his team are researching ways to exploit the beneficial attributes of this protein while inhibiting the negative aspects in order to develop targeted therapies.  

From Our Researchers

The American Cancer Society employs a staff of full-time researchers who relentlessly pursue the answers that help us understand how to prevent, detect, and treat cancer, including colorectal cancer. They investigate associations between lifestyle and colon/rectal cancer using data from the ongoing Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II), which the Society began in 1982. They are also conducting a new multi-year cancer prevention study, CPS-III.

Colorectal Cancer Research Videos

Watch our videos to learn more about our colorectal cancer research.