April 26, 2018

Research funded to improve cancer screening

Jessica Chubak, PhD, MBHL, and Aruna Kamineni, PhD

Drs. Kamineni and Chubak are among leaders of 2 new large PROSPR awards from NCI for cervical and colorectal cancer screening research

Many lives could be saved with more widespread and regular screening and follow-up for cancer. But it’s challenging to improve cancer screening and follow-up in the community. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) the opportunity to understand how best to do so for cervical and colorectal cancers.

These awards are part of Population-based Research to Optimize Screening Process (PROSPR II), which focuses on screening for cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer. PROSPR II is a second round of multi-site, coordinated, transdisciplinary research on screening for various cancers. KPWHRI was also involved in the first round, PROSPR I, which began in 2011.

Cervical cancer screening

Aruna Kamineni, PhD, a KPWHRI research associate, is 1 of 4 multiple principal investigators of the cervical cancer portion of PROSPR II. Funded for $19 million over 5 years, including more than $4 million to KPWHRI, this also involves Parkland Health & Hospital System/University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and Partners HealthCare in Boston.

“PROSPR II will enable us to improve cervical cancer screening delivery and outcomes in our region and beyond,” Dr. Kamineni says. “With cervical cancer screening on the vanguard of precision screening, there are abundant opportunities to evaluate clinical implementation and improve how we deliver tailored cancer screening to patients. We will also have the opportunity to evaluate screening benefits for HPV-vaccinated women, who are at lower risk of cervical cancer.”

Colorectal cancer screening

Jessica Chubak, PhD, a KPWHRI associate investigator, and Dr. Kamineni are 2 of the 6 multiple principal investigators of the colorectal cancer portion. Funded for nearly $16 million over 5 years, including $4 million to KPWHRI, this also involves Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation, and Parkland Health & Hospital System/University of Texas Southwestern.

“We have learned a lot about colorectal cancer screening in the past few years, but there’s still so much more to learn,” Dr. Chubak says. “I am particularly excited to learn about how to improve screening and reduce harms in groups that aren’t studied as often, such as older people.”

To learn more, read this story on Permanente Medicine: Kaiser Permanente receives $32 million for cancer research.