Dr. Shirley Bluethmann Receives American Cancer Society Funding, Studies Exercise and Medication Adherence in Older Breast Cancer Survivors
May 1, 2019
Image Credit: Penn State College of Medicine
CPFP alumna Dr. Shirley Bluethmann received a Mentored Research Scholar Grant for Applied and Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society (MRSG-18-136-01-CPPB) for her project "Using Exercise to Improve Arthralgia and AI Adherence in Older Cancer Survivors: (the REJOIN Trial)." The $728,000 career development award will support Dr. Bluethmann as she pursues specialized training in cancer and aging and investigates the effects of a self-management program, combining education and exercise, on joint pain associated with aromatase inhibitors (a treatment commonly prescribed to women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer).
Dr. Bluethmann believes the study, focusing on breast cancer survivors over the age of 65, has the potential to “change clinical practice by increasing use of an evidence-based, non-pharmacological method for the management of a common but problematic treatment symptom.” According to Dr. Bluethmann, the CPFP helped her build her brand as a national leader in behavioral research in cancer and aging and thus played a key role in preparing her for this project and American Cancer Society (ACS) recognition.
Dr. Bluethmann is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine and an associate member of the Penn State Cancer Institute. In addition to her ACS funded research, Dr. Bluethmann published in Nature Communications in January 2019. Her article “Suicide among cancer patients” seeks to uncover the prevalence and risk of suicide in adults diagnosed with cancer.
Image Credit: Penn State College of Medicine
Dr. Loomans-Kropp, Dr. Pierre-Victor, with Division of Cancer Prevention Mentors, Publish on Personalized Risk
April 5, 2019
Current CPFP fellow Dr. Holli Loomans-Kropp, recently published a review in Precision Oncology titled “Cancer prevention and screening: the next step in the era of precision medicine.” In this piece, Loomans-Kropp and her Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) preceptor and Chief of the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, Dr. Asad Umar, summarized the current state of cancer prevention efforts along the cancer control continuum. They discussed historical efforts in prevention, current prevention and early detection recommendations, and current knowledge of the molecular factors that may impact one’s risk of cancer. The review also explored the future of cancer prevention in the current age of precision medicine and personalized care.
Loomans-Kropp and Umar highlighted the necessity of combining generalized cancer prevention techniques with individualized methods. Loomans-Kropp noted, “Better understanding one’s personalized risk of one, or multiple, cancers may better inform how she or he should approach cancer prevention. This type of knowledge will allow for better and more precise guidance in cancer prevention.”
In February 2019, current CPFP fellow Dr. Dudith Pierre-Victor, with mentor and Chief of DCP’s Early Detection Research Branch Dr. Paul Pinsky, published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study, titled “Association of Nonadherence to Cancer Screening Examinations with Mortality from Unrelated Causes: A Secondary Analysis of the PLCO Cancer Screening Trial” examined the association between nonadherence to cancer screening tests and mortality in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO), excluding mortality from cancer studied in the trial. Pierre-Victor and Pinsky observed higher mortality among participants who were nonadherent to baseline cancer screening tests compared to those who fully adhered. A general behavior profile of nonadherence, of which nonadherence specifically with trial protocol screening is a marker, was found to be associated with a very substantial increased risk of death.
Dr. Pierre-Victor stressed the impact of this study on middle-aged and older populations: “Study participants’ adherence profile is a behavioral characteristic that merits investigation since it is associated with an increased risk of mortality among middle-aged and older adults.”
Dr. Emily Vogtmann Appointed Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator
March 1, 2019
CPFP alumna Dr. Emily Vogtmann has been named an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator with the NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). These tenure-track level positions are for creative, independent thinkers eager to take on novel, high-impact research.
As an Earl Stadtman Investigator, Dr. Vogtmann will conduct research focusing on how the human microbiota is related to cancer risk, both how it directly associates with cancer and how it may be a mediator in the relationship between specific exposures and cancer. She is eager to begin new studies that will measure bacteria and other microbes: “These different types of microbes may interact to change the risk of various cancers, such as cancer of the oral cavity. I am also planning on looking at whether microbial changes over time may be related to cancer risk.”
The CPFP supported Dr. Vogtmann as she explored various research opportunities at the NCI. In her new role, she has the potential to provide similar support to future fellows. Dr. Vogtmann expressed, “Both of my post-doctoral mentors were former Cancer Prevention Fellows. And now I’m looking forward to mentoring trainees and could one day be a preceptor for a new Cancer Prevention Fellow.”
2018 William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award Recipients: Drs. Megan Clarke and Claire Meaney
February 1, 2019
CPFP Fellow Dr. Megan Clarke and CPFP alumna Dr. Claire Meaney were 2018 recipients of the prestigious William G. Coleman Jr., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award.
The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) established this competitive award to support innovative research that has the potential for high impact in any area of minority health and health disparities research. Dr. Anna Nápoles, Scientific Director at NIMHD applauded the efforts of the postdoctoral fellow, staff scientist, and staff clinician award recipients: “The work of these researchers will help us move toward championing our mission of improving minority health and reducing health disparities. These projects hold promise of a better understanding of some of the significant health differences which exist within underrepresented race/ethnic groups.”
Drs. Clarke and Meaney, two of the five award recipients, each received this $15,000 research award to study key determinants of health inequities and advance scientific knowledge within the field. Dr. Clarke’s project “Evaluating the associations of symptom appraisal and barriers to care with endometrial cancer presentation and outcomes in a diverse population” and Dr. Meaney’s project “Inflammation-Based markers of lung cancer risk and survival in African Americans” were both recognized in June 2018.
Publication in Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) Examines Breast Cancer Incidence Trends by Ethnicity
February 1, 2019
In July 2018, CPFP Fellow Dr. Brittny Davis Lynn published an article in the JNCI titled “Black-White Breast Cancer Incidence Trends: Effects of Ethnicity.” The article examined breast cancer incidence trends among non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic white women, and non-Hispanic black women in the NCI SEER 13 Registries Database from 1990 through 2014. Davis Lynn and colleagues confirmed the convergence of incidence rates for blacks and whites, but when they analyzed incidence rates by Hispanic ethnicity, the pattern did not hold: incidence rates were highest among non-Hispanic whites, followed by non-Hispanic blacks, and then Hispanic whites.
When asked about the public health message of this research, Dr. Davis Lynn explained, “It is important to study racial/ethnic groups separately because they have different health behaviors and social experiences that affect their risk for disease—in this case, breast cancer incidence.”
Dr. Davis Lynn was previously recognized by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for her work on a similar topic. She was awarded an AACR Scholar-in-Training Award to attend the 2017 AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. Dr. Davis Lynn received this travel award to present her abstract, “Current and future incidence rates of invasive breast cancer between Black and White women.”