Sharad Ghamande, MD, received a 5-year, $3.1M NCI/NIH UG1 award, “Georgia CaRes.”
Georgia Regents University (GRU) has been home to Georgia’s only NCI Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MB-CCOP) since 2004. With its affiliate site, University Cancer & Blood Center (UCBC), GRU has enrolled nearly 800 patients to NCI clinical trials: 39% of them African American (AA) and other minorities, with accrual split between treatment trials (48%) and prevention and control trials (52%). Building on this successful track record, the “Georgia Cares” award supports the joining of GRU Cancer Center and UCBC with Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University to become the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Minority/Underserved Community Site for Georgia. The state of Georgia represents a unique opportunity to pursue research directed towards cancer disparities and to affect minority and underserved communities’ accrual to clinical trials and cancer care delivery research studies: Of its 9.9M residents, 30% are AA (vs. 12% in the U.S.), and 75% of its counties are rural – most of them medically underserved. The need to sustain and grow an NCORP that focuses on minority and underserved populations in Georgia is great. Georgia has some of the nation’s worst cancer disparities, particularity between African Americans (AA) and Caucasians (CA) and between rural and urban populations. The disparities are glaring for some of the most common cancers. Not only do AA men in Georgia have the highest rate of prostate cancer among AA men in the country, they are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease as CA men in Georgia and three times as likely to die from it. In Georgia, AA women die of breast cancer 25% more often than CA women, and AA die of colorectal cancer 45% more than CA. Georgia’s NCORP M/U Site will ensure greater access to state-of-the-art cancer care across the state and broader translation of research findings into public health and clinical practice.