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Rogel Cancer Center researchers get $4M to help expand genetic testing efforts statewide

Date Visible: 
06/25/2020 - 1:15pm

Media contact: Nicole Fawcett, 734-764-2220 |  Patients may contact Cancer AnswerLine™ 800-865-1125

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer has been awarded $4 million from the National Cancer Institute as part of its Cancer Moonshot program. The grant will fund efforts to increase rates of genetic testing among cancer patients who have family histories concerning for hereditary cancer syndromes.

“Up to 20% of cancers involve a hereditary genetic variant, but only a fraction of people at risk for hereditary cancers undergo genetic testing. We want to break down barriers at both the practice level and the patient level to increase the proportion of patients assessed for genetic risk,” says Elena M. Stoffel, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of gastroenterology at Michigan Medicine and director of the Rogel Cancer Center’s Cancer Genetics Clinic.

Stoffel and co-principal investigators Jennifer J. Griggs, M.D., MPH, and Ken Resnicow, Ph.D., lead the multidisciplinary U-M team. The project leverages existing partnerships among the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a statewide oncology network, payers, and experts in clinical cancer genetics and health communications. Working with the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium, a statewide network of oncology practices who share data to improve quality of care, researchers will distribute a family health history survey tool to cancer patients to help clinicians identify those who meet clinical criteria for genetic testing.

Future phases of the five-year project will test how patient-level behavioral interventions, such as tailored messages and talking with a certified genetic counselor, increase uptake of genetic testing and improve the care of families with genetic susceptibility to cancer.

Grant citation: National Cancer Institute grant U01CA232827