Are There Racial Differences in Cancer?

By Cerise Carey

GI Cancer

Americans of African descent are at a higher risk for developing gastrointestinal (GI) cancers than other individuals, but are there racially determined differences in the cancer itself? Dr. Ellen Li and her colleagues from Stony Brook University are teaming up with SUNY Downstate and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to try to find an answer to this question by looking into the biological and genetic differences in GI cancers from people of various races and ethnicities. One aspect of this project involves the investigation of genetic markers and their role in gene regulation in cancer tissue from both African American and Caucasian American subgroups. Another aspect aims to define changes in gene regulation and functional synthesis of proteins by looking at cancer in tissue grown to act like organs. This will function as a way to test new chemotherapeutic agents. These projects aim to help improve individualized cancer treatments, thereby reducing disproportionate rates in cancer incidence and outcomes observed in ethnic and racial minorities.

Stony Brook-led team to evaluate racial differences in GI cancer biology. Stony Brook Newsroom. (2015).

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