The Institute is investing in research to discover how biologic, genetic, environmental, behavioral and social factors impact cancer development, investigate interventions to reduce cancer risk and translate therapies to help patients in our clinics and in the community.
Co-directors: Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., M.P.H., Professor, Behavioral Science; Joya Chandra, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pediatrics-Research
The Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship was founded to help bridge the gaps in knowledge surrounding the relationships between physical activity, nutrition, obesity, and cancer. Advancements in the energy balance research field will be used to optimize interventions to modify unhealthy behaviors, decrease cancer risk and improve cancer outcomes and deliver innovative practice-level changes to the clinical realm. By fostering a collaborative, trans-disciplinary environment, our research will contribute to institutional prestige by providing state-of-the-science erudition in:prevention and survivorship–related interventions;how key energy balance concepts affect cancer biomarkers; and the biological and psychosocial mechanisms behind weight, eating behavior, and physical activity.
Co-directors: Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Epidemiology; Alma Rodriguez, M.D., Professor, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Office of the EVP, Physician-in-Chief
The Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics (CTPHG) was created to bridge the gap between epidemiologic discoveries and their translation into clinical and public health applications to benefit cancer patients, individuals at elevated risk for cancer, and the general population. Leveraging the large patient population and healthy controls with comprehensive data and biospecimens and the rapid development of new high-throughput biomedical technologies that generate genomic information at an unprecedented pace, the Center contributes to the institutional commitment of personalized medicine by providing expertise in translational genomics for cancer risk, prevention interventions, progression from pre-malignancy to cancer, pharmacogenomics to predict therapeutic response, and survivorship and quality of life.
Co-directors: Therese Bevers, M.D., Medical Director, Cancer Prevention Center; Gabriel Lopez, M.D., Medical Director, Integrative Medicine Center; Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., Professor, General Oncology; Ernest Hawk, M.D., Vice President, Cancer Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
The mission of the Integrative Health initiative (IHI) is to optimize health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes of patients and families through exceptional clinical care, research, and education in integrative health services across the cancer continuum of prevention, active treatment, and survivorship. Integrative Health is distinct from other strategic research initiatives as it is primarily focused on clinical service delivery. Based upon collaborative contributions from colleagues across the institution, the IHI provides evidence-based, personalized services in five lifestyle-associated areas: Nutrition, Physical Activity, Tobacco Treatment, Psychosocial Needs, and Complementary Therapies.
Prevention Patients and Cancer Survivors: The goal in this patient population is to prevent the development or recurrence of cancer, with emphasis placed on assisting patients in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Since the Cancer Prevention Clinic’s (CPC) core patient population consists of at-risk patients as well as cancer survivors, the CPC is the ideal location for providing IHI clinical services.
Patients in Active Treatment: For patients who are currently undergoing active treatment for a cancer diagnosis, the goal is to maximize therapeutic benefit while minimizing adverse side effects. The Integrative Medicine Center (IMC) is the ideal location to provide IHI services to this patient population as IMC physicians and staff work closely with the patient’s primary oncology team to incorporate integrative therapies into patients’ conventional cancer care.
Co-directors: Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Epidemiology; Ernest Hawk, M.D., M.P.H., Vice President, Cancer Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences; Gottumukkala Raju, M.D., Professor, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition
Approximately 80% of all human cancers arise in the cells that line the surfaces and cavities of the body's organs (epithelial cancers). The progression from healthy cells to cancer is a multi-step process, from normal cells, to premalignant lesion, and to malignant tumor, often involving accumulation of genetic and chemical alterations in tissues over many years. This process makes the early detection and prevention of cancer possible. However, progression does not occur at the same rate, if at all, in each individual. The mission of the Premalignant Genome Atlas Program (PGA) is to assess the spectrum of factors contributing to the progression from healthy individuals to those with precancerous lesions to cancer patients and determine the molecular changes along this continuum. This information can be used to: build models to predict risk of cancer progression, identify targets for prevention therapies, and find markers of prevention response. Because cancer is often detected and treated at an advanced stage using chemo- and/or radiotherapy with varying results and side effects that impact cancer survivors' quality of life, this strategic initiative is directly relevant to cancer prevention research and will have profound impact on public health.
The Institute's seed funding research program provides financial support to investigators working to generate the preliminary data necessary to improve competitiveness for extramural support for larger and innovative hypothesis-driven studies. Funding is awarded through a peer review process.
Awards are available to faculty throughout MD Anderson and support work across the continuum of cancer prevention research, from early detection to survivorship.