Innovations Spring 2019 - Page 7

RESEARCH NEWS
University of Hawai ‘ i Cancer Center Minority / Underserved NCORP team visits FHP Health Center , Guam in 2018 to determine its capability and interest in becoming an NCORP afliate site . In the back , left-to-right : Munirih Taafaki , former UH Cancer Center regulatory supervisor , Samir Ambrale , MD , MPH , hematologist-oncologist , Jef Larsen , FHP Health Center vice president , Dave Torre , FHP Health Center senior clinic manager . In the front , left-to-right : Isobel Webster , former UH Cancer Center clinical research associate , Charles Rosser , MD , MBA , former UH Cancer Center Translational and Clinical Research associate director , Jefrey Berenberg , MD , UH Cancer Center NCORP principal investigator , Gerry Patricio , manager radiology services ; Josette Baza , EHR specialist .

Currently , Native Hawaiians , Pacifc Islanders and Asians represent a small fraction of patients enrolled in NCIsponsored cancer clinical trials nationwide . Te inclusion of Guam to NCORP will increase accruals of underrepresented populations including ethnic minorities and rural residents ,” said Jefrey Berenberg , MD , UH Cancer Center ’ s Hawai ‘ i Minority / Underserved NCORP principal investigator . “ Tere is a great need to introduce cancer control , prevention and cancer care delivery research trials to Guam given the heterogeneous population , geographic location , unique cultural practices and diet .”

I realized that although eforts had been made in the past to get NCI-sponsored cancer clinical trials to Guam , no one had succeeded ,” said Samir Ambrale , MD , MPH , FHP Health Center , Guam , NCORP site principal investigator . “ Most ( 95 percent ) of the cancer care is delivered locally in Guam . Patients are advised about enrollment in cancer clinical trials available in Hawai ‘ i or the continental U . S . for treatment of advanced cancer , but are routinely unable to travel for cancer care due to fnancial reasons and lack of social support . Te new afliation with the UH Cancer Center NCORP program will allow for cancer patients in Guam to have access locally to the latest treatments through cancer clinical trials .”
Te majority ( 81 percent ) of Guam ’ s population consists of Native Hawaiians , Pacifc Islanders and Asians . During the period 2008-2012 , 1,904 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Guam and 736 residents lost their lives to cancer . Guam is a U . S . island territory in Micronesia , in the Western Pacifc . It is located approximately 3,950 miles west of the Hawaiian Islands . Te residents of Guam are U . S . citizens .
We are delighted to be partnered with the UH Cancer Center and are committed to providing novel cancer therapies and treatments to our island residents ,” said Jefrey Larsen , FHP Health Center vice-president .
Researchers at the UH Cancer Center , FHP Health Center and the University of Guam have been working diligently for months to complete requirements for joining the NCORP . Te addition of FHP Health Center to NCORP ’ s list of sites has been possible due to collaborative eforts to elevate the level of cancer care , increase the availability of new treatments and help eliminate cancer related disparities in the region ,” said Randall Holcombe , MD , MBA , UH Cancer Center director . Finding new ways to screen for cervical cancer

Aresearch team led by Brenda Hernandez ,

PhD , MPH , UH Cancer Center associate researcher , and Lee Buenconsejo-Lum , MD , John A . Burns School of Medicine professor , worked with public health leaders in Yap to develop a community-based research project to improve cervical cancer screening rates and reduce the burden of cancer on the island .
Micronesian women throughout the Pacifc have among the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world . Tis is true of Yap , one of the states of the Federated States of Micronesia ( FSM ), where the cervical cancer rate is more than twice that of the U . S . Tis high burden of cervical cancer is consistent with low levels of screening at less than 40 percent throughout the FSM according to the Pacifc Regional Central Cancer Registry .
Brenda Hernandez , PhD , MPH
Human papillomavirus ( HPV ) infection is the principal cause of nearly all cervical cancers . Screening is essential to prevent the disease . However , in developing countries cervical cancer is a major public health challenge due to poor screening rates associated with geographic challenges and cultural barriers .
Hernandez and Buenconsejo-Lum conducted a research trial among 217 adult women in Yap , ages 21-65 , at six community clinics . Tey compared cervical HPV DNA in self-collected urine with clinician-collected cervical cells via Pap test .
Te study concluded that urine is less sensitive but more specifc than a Pap test for the detection of cell abnormalities . Tey specifcally found that urine-based DNA screening may be useful for older women in low-resource communities when clinically-collected samples cannot be obtained . However , they emphasized that more studies need to be conducted in larger populations including both low- and high-resourced settings .
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