Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers Awarded
The National Cancer Advisory Board recently approved new funding for NCI's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) collaborative initiative, which awarded grants to seven research centers in 1999. The new investment, totaling almost $12 million, will be funded over the next 5 years by NCI, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The new group of centers and principal investigators includes: Brown University and the Miriam Hospital, Dr. Raymond Niaura; University of Wisconsin, Dr. Timothy B. Baker; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. K. Michael Cummings; University of Minnesota, Dr. Dorothy K. Hatsukami; University of Southern California, Dr. C. Anderson Johnson; University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Caryn E. Lerman; and Yale University, Dr. Stephanie S. O'Malley.
The seven new centers will study a range of topics, including genetic and psychosocial factors that influence tobacco use and addiction; effective smoking cessation treatments; molecules or genes that could affect tobacco exposure and disease risk; and the public health impact of regional and national tobacco control policies.
NCI Director Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach said, "Our support for TTURCs reflects recognition of the detrimental public health impact of tobacco use and the need for integrative transdisciplinary research." NCI cofunds all seven centers and has invested more than $7 million in the new initiative. Lung cancer, overwhelmingly caused by tobacco use, is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
"We know that smoking is highly addictive and exposes the body to thousands of compounds in tobacco smoke," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "NIDA is committed to funding research to reduce the adverse health, economic, and social consequences of all drugs of abuse, including nicotine, to individuals, families, and communities." NIDA cofunds three of the centers and has invested more than $3 million in the new initiative.
"Patterns of co-occurring alcohol and tobacco use and dependence warrant greater scrutiny," said NIAAA Director Dr. Ting-Kai Li. "We are pleased to be a new cofunder of this important research into the shared genetic and neurobiological vulnerabilities to both forms of dependence, as well as the environmental factors that influence use of these drugs." NIAAA has invested more than $1.5 million in the TTURC initiative.
People who smoke are influenced by behavioral, social, environmental, psychological, genetic, and biologic factors, many of which are interconnected. As shown by the diversity of collaborations and research outcomes since 1999, the TTURC initiative spans multiple perspectives and is leading to new strategies for addressing tobacco control. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has partnered with the original grantees to help disseminate research results. Highlights of important scientific findings from the original TTURC grants include:
For more information about TTURCs, visit http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/tturc.