The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Puerto Rico received a competitive renewal of their Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE) grant from the National Cancer Institute. The CPACHE grant provides a total of $13 million over 5 years.
This is the fourth funding award for the institutions’ Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research, which has been ongoing since 2002. It will continue to support collaborative research projects, community outreach, and joint education programming.
Closer Look at the Grant
New elements of the grant include the establishment of an Infection-Driven Malignancies Program for Advancing Careers and Translational Research (IMPACT). It also will support a Genomic Data Center, a Community Outreach Center, an Evaluation and Planning Center, a Center for Research Education, and multidisciplinary core research projects. In addition, the grant will foster the development of a dual MD/MPH degree to support career advancement for Hispanic students pursuing careers in laboratory and population-based cancer research and will strengthen both cancer centers’ research
The Partnership for Excellence in Cancer Research continues to facilitate an MD/PhD program, in which students attend medical school in Puerto Rico and conduct research at MD Anderson. The University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine confers the MD degree, and the MD Anderson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences confers the PhD degree. Since its inception in 2008, eight students have graduated from the dual-degree program.
Principal Investigators for the partnership’s initiatives are Brad R. Weiner, PhD, Director of the Cancer Biology Division at the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center; Reynold López-Enríquez, MD, surgical oncologist; Ana P. Ortiz, PhD, MPH, Associate Director of the Cancer and Population Sciences Control Program at the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center; Elizabeth Travis, PhD, Associate Vice President for Women and Minority Faculty Inclusion at MD Anderson; Michelle Barton, PhD, Professor of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis; and Sharon Giordano, MD, MPH, Department Chair of Health Services Research at MD Anderson.