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Faculty & Staff Honors

GW Researcher Aims for Improved Anal Cancer Screening Test with $1.8 Million Grant

A George Washington University (GW) researcher was awarded more than $1.81 million by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to explore several biomarkers that could lead to a better approach for anal cancer screening.

Dr. Jeanne A. Jordan, professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), believes that combining one or more of these biomarkers with the anal Pap test might improve the current screening approach for anal cancer.

[Photo: Dr. Jeanne A. Jordan]

Currently when a man living with HIV goes to a doctor for screening, he undergoes an anal Pap test, which looks for abnormal changes in cells. In an attempt to improve the chances of identifying someone at high risk for anal cancer, physicians currently will also test for the presence of HPV DNA.

That test is very good at identifying an HPV infection but doesn’t help to predict their risk of anal cancer. Thus the combined anal Pap test plus HPV test in its current form sends too many men on for a biopsy, an invasive test that is used to diagnose anal cancer.

Dr. Jordan and her team are going to study some alternate biomarkers that when used along with the anal Pap test might lead to a more effective screening for this kind of cancer.

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