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Prevention and Early Detection of Hereditary Cancers

NCI has announced several funding opportunities that align with the Cancer Moonshot.

See Funding Opportunities

There are more than 50 known hereditary cancer syndromes; however, testing for these syndromes in appropriate populations still remains a vastly underused cancer prevention strategy. Many individuals at risk for cancer lack access to genetic screening and preventative approaches due to cost, geographical location, or lack of understanding about these strategies. By improving the availability and uptake of these tests by individuals and families at high-risk for cancer, significant improvements can be made in the prevention and early treatment of inherited cancer syndromes.

This recommendation supports research to develop, test, and implement evidence-based strategies to identify those at risk for inherited cancer syndromes and implement appropriate clinical management. Studies are needed to improve access to genetic counseling and testing with appropriate follow-up care for the prevention and early detection of cancer. In addition, advancing the understanding of mechanisms involved in hereditary cancers and identifying biomarkers associated with cancer development can lead to improved prevention and early detection interventions.

The ultimate goal of this research is to develop effective cancer prevention and early detection approaches for individuals at high-risk for cancer.

NCI currently has awarded funding opportunities that align with the recommendation to address the prevention and early detection of cancers in populations at high-risk for cancer:

Approaches to Identify and Care for Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes

Research projects focused on approaches to identify and care for individuals with inherited cancer syndromes aim to increase the identification of cancer, improve follow-up care, and enhance the delivery of evidence-based care for individuals at high-risk for cancer. This initiative is developing and testing innovative approaches for preventing and detecting cancer in individuals with inherited cancer syndromes, as well as studying the implementation of different strategies across a variety of clinical care settings and diverse populations.

Communication and Decision-Making for Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes

One of the most challenging tasks for individuals with an inherited cancer syndrome is understanding their risk of cancer and applying this knowledge to decisions about cancer risk management and disclosing genetic test results to family members. Additionally, since individuals with an inherited susceptibility to cancer often must communicate with numerous health care providers during the course of clinical management, effective communication is essential.

Research projects focusing on communication and decision-making for individuals with inherited cancer syndromes are developing, testing and evaluating interventions and implementation approaches, or adapting existing approaches to improve patient/provider/family risk communication and risk management decision-making. Projects may involve a variety of clinical care settings, genetic counseling methods, and ethnically, socioeconomically, and geographically diverse populations. These studies aim to improve understanding of genetic risk and improve clinical management decision-making for individuals who have cancer or who are at risk of cancer due to a known or suspected inherited cancer syndrome.

RESPOND: Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry

African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups. NCI, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation are funding the RESPOND study to understand this health disparity. It’s the largest coordinated study of environmental and genetic factors associated with aggressive prostate cancer in African-American men. The researchers of RESPOND will explore complex interactions between biology (inherited and somatic gene variants), behavior, and the environment that play a role in aggressive prostate cancer and the poor outcomes experienced by African-American men. The knowledge from this study could lead to the development of new approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat prostate cancer in this minority population at risk for aggressive prostate cancer.

Projects Awarded Cancer Moonshot Funding to Address Inherited Cancer Syndromes

Awarded Projects
Funding Opportunity Project Title Institution Principal Investigator(s)
Approaches to Identify and Care for Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes (U01) Leveraging an Electronic Medical Record Infrastructure to Identify Primary Care Patients Eligible for Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer and Evaluate Novel Cancer Genetics Service Delivery Models University of Utah Buys, Saundra S; Ginsburg, Ophira; Kaphingst, Kimberly A
Approaches to Identify and Care for 
Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes (U01 Clinical Trial Required)
Implementing the moon: Getting genomic testing to the public University Of Washington Bowen, Deborah J; Swisher, Elizabeth Mary
Randomized trial of universal vs. guideline-directed germline testing among young adults with cancer University Of Pennsylvania Nathanson, Katherine L; Joffe, Steven 
Improving identification and healthcare for patients with Inherited Cancer Syndromes: Evidence-based EMR implementation using a web-based computer platform Vanderbilt University Medical Center Wiesner, Georgia L; Orlando, Lori Ann
Communication and Decision Making 
for Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)
The AYA-RISE Intervention: Risk Information and Screening Education for Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer Predisposition Syndromes Dana-Farber Cancer Inst Mack, Jennifer W
National Cancer Institute Program Project Applications (P01) Research on Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry: Defining the Roles of Genetics, Immunity and Stress (RESPOND) University of Southern California Haiman, Christopher Alan
Approaches to Identify and Care for Individuals with Inherited Cancer Syndromes (U01) Evaluation of Population Based Testing for HBOC and Lynch Syndromes Oregon Health & Science University Spellman, Paul T; Shannon, Jackilen
Innovative Approaches to Expand Cancer Genetic Screening and Testing for Patients & Families in a Statewide Oncology Network Through Community, State, & Payer Partnerships University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Stoffel, Elena Martinez; Griggs, Jennifer J; Resnicow, Ken A 
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