A Healthier Wisconsin

Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program

Establishing a chemoprevention research program at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention ProgramPrincipal Investigator:Ming You, MD, PhD, Pharmacology and ToxicologyAward Amount:4,684,996
Award Date
Project Duration:46 months

Project Description Narrative:

Cancer and other chronic diseases create a huge burden in Wisconsin in both human and economic costs, and are largely preventable. For the years 2002-2006, an average of 27,256 cancers were diagnosed annually among Wisconsin residents and the state tallied an average of 10,841 cancer deaths each year. Compared to the national average, Wisconsin residents are more likely to die if they are diagnosed with seven of the top 10 cancers with the highest rate of incidence in the state.

Chemoprevention is an emerging area within cancer prevention research focusing on the prevention, delay, and reversal of cancer using natural or laboratory-made substances. In order to bring this expertise to the state of Wisconsin, through this award the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center will establish a Chemoprevention Research Program and initiate studies aimed at identifying chemicals, drugs, or food supplements that can prevent the development of cancer, and evaluating the efficacy of these agents for cancer prevention in high-risk human populations.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Recruited established investigators with interest, research focus, and experience in chemoprevention
  • Established program structure, goals, and communication strategies, including a weekly seminar, to advance collaborative opportunities and potential
  • Evaluated several novel chemopreventive agents for their impact on a variety of cancers, including esophagus, colon, oral, laryngeal, and renal cancer. Identified in most instances that these chemopreventive agents reduced the occurrence of cancer in animal models by at least 50
  • Identified potential new biomarkers that may be useful for both the prevention and treatment of cancer, including a number of cancer genes that are frequently mutated in lung and colon cancers. Findings may lead to new approaches for cancer prevention and treatment
  • Initiated seed and pilot awards to several investigators, leading to identification of novel targets for intervention in lung cancer, a broadened understanding of cells involved in cancer progression, analysis pipelines for next-generation cancer sequencing data, cancer genome sequencing studies, and more
  • Began development of and initiated human clinical trials of chemopreventive agents
  • Transitioned work of the Chemoprevention Research Program into both the MCW Cancer Biology Program and the MCW Population Sciences Program

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