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Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program Identifies Innovative Early Detection and Cancer Prevention Interventions

Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention Specific Aims

1) Elucidate risk and prognostic factors for common and high-mortality cancers, with a focus on lifestyle, environmental and molecular exposures.

2) Discover and implement prevention strategies, incorporating environmental, ‘omic’, and imaging approaches.

3) Develop and operationalize novel biostatistical and analytic methods for big data and personalized prevention.

Our highly regarded scientists at the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program have outstanding lab experience and data skills that allow them to identify high-risk individuals and populations for many cancers. Researchers focus on understanding cancer risk and prevention with a goal of translating successful interventions to local, state, national and international populations.

Through research and discovery aligned with patient populations, the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention team is advancing research efforts, including:

  • Understanding how lifestyle, the environment and molecular exposures affect cancer risk
  • Researching and developing innovative strategies to prevent cancer altogether
  • Using state-of-the-art genomic, proteomic, metabolomics and imaging technologies to find cancer sooner or prevent metastasis
  • Developing methods and strategies that take big data to create personalized prevention and screening

Dr. Thomas Wang
Dr. Thomas Wang and his research team are working on a laser probe which may help identify precancerous lesions in the gastrointestinal tract. Part of Dr. Wang’s research into molecular imaging and early detection.

Outstanding Program Outcomes

Formerly known as the Biomedical Prevention Program, the renamed Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention (CEP) Program at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute since 1996. The name change better reflects the unified goals and significant priorities of member research, as led by elite co-leaders C. Leigh Pearce, Ph.D., and Rafael Meza, Ph.D.

Patient Empowering Interventions

With a strong focus on understanding causes and risk factors that lead to cancer through population-based approaches, our team studies the data to understand prevention strategies that could be effective at reducing the cancer burden. Distinctive strengths of the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program include:

  • A multidisciplinary approach to explain the associations between and mechanisms underlying environmental, lifestyle and endogenous exposures on cancer risk
  • Incorporation of this risk factor knowledge into public health-relevant prevention strategies in the context of health disparities
  • Proactive participation in and seminal contributions to statewide, national and international research efforts
  • Development of patient-empowering interventions

Risk Factors for Cancer and Survival

Members working in cancer epidemiology are focused on identifying risk and protective factors for disease and identifying features associated with survival, particularly for these common and high-mortality cancers:

  • Breast
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Head and neck
  • Lung
  • Ovarian
  • Prostate

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program investigators focus on lifestyle, environmental and molecular exposures that may contribute to cancer risk.

Zora Djuric, PhD
Zora Djuric, Ph.D. has been studying the whether following the Mediterranean Diet has as positive an impact for cancer patients as it does for cardiac patients.

Lifestyle and Environmental Risks

Researchers clarify risk and protective factors for common and deadly cancers, with a focus on lifestyle and molecular exposures. Exposures of interest include:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Menopausal hormone therapy use
  • Obesity
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Tobacco use
  • Vitamin D

Discover and Implement Prevention Strategies

Members working in cancer prevention are focused on identifying effective intervention strategies to reduce cancer risk in using primary (prevent cancer), secondary (screen for cancer or premalignant lesions) and tertiary (prevent cancer recurrence) prevention strategies. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Chemoprevention
  • Nutritional interventions
  • Omic-based research (including genomics, metabolomics)
  • Patient self-care practices
  • Primary prevention interventions
  • Screening
  • Surgical
  • Tobacco control

Develop and Operationalize New Biostatistical Methods

Researchers in the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program develop and operationalize novel biostatistical and analytic methods for big data and personalized prevention and screening. There is broad expertise in the program in biostatistical and mathematical modeling techniques, including:

image capture of the Center for Cancer Biostatistics
The Center for Cancer Biostatistics collaborates with the Rogel Cancer Center to provide statistical analysis and interpretation of scientific data, among other services.
  • Bayesian methods in optimizing the design and analysis of gene-environment interaction studies
  • Causal modeling inference
  • Design and analysis of sample surveys
  • Failure time and survival analysis models
  • Mechanistic and natural history modeling of cancer
  • Methods for analyzing data from gene expression arrays
  • Methods for combining multiple biomarkers
  • Multistage carcinogenesis models
  • New methods in statistical genetics
  • Predictive modeling of drug activity
  • Semiparametric inference
  • The design of Phase I clinical trials
  • Tree-structured regression and ensemble methods

Innovations and Strengths in Cancer Research

The highly skilled members of the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program are particularly knowledgeable about the quantitative aspects of cancer research. The program's biostatisticians offer the development of state-of-the-art methods to look at complicated data as we collect information, such as through medical records.

Access to this wealth of genetic data enables us to develop patient-centered interventions to improve the health of specific populations and the overall quality of life for those affected by various cancers. Also, using the statistical history, researchers can change prevention approaches or develop patient-empowering interventions as new protocols.

Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention Program Leadership


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