Research and Training Grants in Colon and Rectal Cancer

The American Cancer Society funds scientists and medical professionals who research cancer or train at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the United States. We use a rigorous and independent peer review process to select the most innovative research projects to fund.

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Total Colorectal Cancer Grants in Effect as of August 1, 2018

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Total Colorectal Cancer Grant Funding in Effect as of August 1, 2018

Spotlight on Colon and Rectal Cancer Grantees

BE GONE Trial: Can Eating Beans Lower the Risk of Colorectal Cancer Recurrence in Survivors with Obesity?

Grantee: Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, PhD, MPH
Institution: University of Texas, MD Anderson in Houston
Grant Term: 7/1/2017 to 6/30/2020

The Challenge: Improvements in screening and treatment for colorectal cancer are linked to higher survival rates. But survival may be negatively affected by poor diet, obesity, inflammation, and problems with metabolism. Survivors of colon or rectal cancer with any of these habits or health problems may have a higher of the cancer returning.

The Research: At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, PhD, MPH, is conducting the BE GONE Trial. She’s studying how eating more beans affects the health of colorectal cancer survivors with obesity. Daniel-MacDougall’s focus is on whether this dietary change enhances “good” bacteria in the gut. It if does, eating beans could reduce the digestive and inflammatory effects of obesity on patients’ health and long-term survival.

The Goal and Long-term Possibilities: The research team’s findings will inform future treatments and public health campaigns for colorectal cancer. The results may do the same for other major diet-and obesity-related diseases that affect cancer survivors.

Understanding Barriers to Screening With Colonoscopy in North and South Carolinians

Grantee: Jan M. Eberth, PhD
Institution: University of South Carolina in Columbia
Grant Term: 1/1/2016 to 12/31/2019

The Challenge: Following the recommended screening guidelines for colon and rectal cancers can reduce the number of people who develop colorectal cancer or die from it. The problem is that only about 60% of people age 50 or older are up-to-date on their screening. Certain groups are even less likely to be screened. They include: racial/ethnic minorities, the uninsured, recent immigrants, and people who have less education. Not getting screened increases a person’s chance of being diagnosed with a later stage of colorectal cancer, when it’s not as easy to successfully treat. 

The Research: Several studies have shown that the geographic distribution of cancer screening providers is linked with the number of people who get screened. Jan M. Eberth, PhD, is studying how the availability of colonoscopy providers affect screening in North and South Carolina. She and her research team are specifically focusing on barriers to getting a colonoscopy, such as an inadequate number of nearby suppliers and the type of health insurance a person has.

The Goal and Long-term Possibilities: Results of Eberth’s work may help develop geographically-targeted interventions to increase the number of available colonoscopy providers in these 2 states as well as increase the number of people who get screened.

CLEARPath Program Aims to Help Patients Understand Lab Reports

Grantee: John L. Gore, MD
Institution: University of Washington in Seattle
Grant Term: 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2020

The Challenge: To confirm a diagnosis of cancer, a doctor often sends a piece of tissue (biopsy) or a blood sample to a lab, where it’s checked for cancer cells. The description of the tissue that they get back from the lab is a pathology report. Information on this report provides patients with a chance to learn more about their situation and work with their doctor to make decisions about what to do next. The problem is that pathology reports use complicated jargon and aren’t understandable to the average person.

The Research: John L. Gore, MD, is testing how well reports that follow user-centered design principles help people recently diagnosed with colorectal or breast cancer understand their pathology reports.

These principles guide report writers to use language and data that patients and caregivers can understand. The name for his program, CLEARPath, stands for Comprehend Language and Engage Relationships in Pathology. Gore is testing these newly designed reports against standard ones to see if:

  • They’re preferred by patients and providers.
  • They improve the patient’s knowledge about cancer and ability to take part in making decisions about their treatment.
  • They improve patient’s rating of doctor-patient communication.

Gore and his team are also developing software to automatically generate patient-centered reports.

The Goal and Long-term Possibilities: Results from this study could guide a larger trial to validate the effectiveness of the report. They could also inform development of patient-centered pathology reports for other types of cancer. 

From Our Researchers

The American Cancer Society (ACS) employs a staff of full-time researchers who relentlessly pursue the answers that help us understand cancer, including colorectal cancer. 

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