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The Cancer Prevention and Control Program

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Genetics and Epigenetics

Our researchers here at the Cancer Prevention and Control Program recognize that there are underlying genetic factors, including both DNA and non-DNA elements, that can affect your health. Thus, we are involved in novel research that delves into these fields: genetics and epigenetics.

Ongoing and Completed Studies

Vitamin D and Related Genes, Race and Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness

Principal Investigator: Susan Steck

Funding Source: USA Medical Research Acquisition Activity, US Department of Defense

Study Period: 3/30/119/29/15

The overall goal of the study is to examine whether altered vitamin D status (as measured by serum metabolites and by functional polymorphisms with genes related to vitamin D transport, metabolism and activity) is associated with increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and may explain some of the racial disparity seen in aggressive prostate cancer. With large representation of African Americans in this investigation, the proposed research has tremendous potential to provide insights into a chronically underserved population carrying an unequal burden of disease.

Study of Novel Adenoma Risk Factors

Co-Principal Investigators: Jim Burch and James Hébert

Funding Source: South Carolina Medical Endoscopy Center

Study Period: 5/1/144/30/15

This project will establish a biospecimen repository among patients undergoing a screening colonoscopy. The objective of this study is to identify biochemical, genetic and epigenetic biomarkers of adenomatous polyp formation that can be targeted for colon cancer prevention.

Role of Genetic and Dietary Factors in Breast Cancer Risk: Study of a Population in Demographic Transition

Principal Investigator: Jim Burch

Funding Source: University of South Carolina Office of Research and Economic Development

Study Period: 7/1/099/1/13

The specific aims were to: 1) genotype 500 breast cancer cases and controls for 19 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with inflammation, carcinogen metabolism, and clock genes (cell cycle/DNA repair pathways); and 2) perform a case-control analysis to test the hypothesis that candidate SNPs are associated with increased breast cancer risk.

Pilot Trial of Ethnicity-Related SNPs and Lipidomics in Prostate Cancer

Co-Principal Investigator: Susan Steck

Funding Source: Wake Forest University Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Study Period: 5/1/128/31/13

Epigenetics and Diet in the Carcinogenesis Process

Co-Principal Investigators: Susan Steck and Jim Burch

Funding Source: National Cancer Institute

Study Period: 5/1/084/30/12

This case-control study examined whether circadian disruption or dietary factors influence methylation of specific cancer-related genes, including clock genes, among individuals with adenomatous polyps and controls.