University of Hawaii System newsletter

Prostate Cancer Researcher Receives Award

Posted on | October 16, 2009 | Comments Off on Prostate Cancer Researcher Receives Award

Iona Cheng

Mānoa Assistant Researcher Iona Cheng was named one of 17 recipients to receive a V Scholar award from the Jim Valvano Foundation for Cancer Research. Her selection was based on high ranking of her grant proposal titled, “Identifying IGF1 Genetic Susceptibility Variants for Prostate Cancer in African Americans.” As a V Foundation Scholar, Cheng will receive a two-year $200,000 grant, which will be used to offset the costs of her research.

The long-term goal of Cheng and her colleagues is to understand the genetic basis of prostate cancer susceptibility, especially among understudied populations with high rates of disease, such as African Americans. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. men. African Americans have a higher incidence and at least twice the mortality rates of prostate cancer compared to other racial/ethnic groups. The disease is characterized by the disruption of regulatory systems that intervene in normal cell growth and death. The Insulin-like Growth Factor system is involved in both of these key pathways and may play an important role in the development of prostate cancer.

Cheng and her colleagues’ previous research has linked inherited differences at the IGF1 gene to prostate cancer risk. However, the specific genetic variants responsible for this increased risk of disease have yet to be identified.

Through the support of the V Foundation, their new study will further investigate the IGF1 gene to identify novel genetic variants and test whether these inherited differences influence the risk of prostate cancer among African American men from the Multiethnic Cohort Study. The information being gathered from the MEC is looking at possible links between cancer and nutrition, cancer and other lifestyle factors such as smoking, and to determine whether genes make people more or less susceptible to cancer.

Read the news release.