University of South Carolina associate professors Dr. Susan Steck, epidemiology and biostatistics, and Dr. Angela Murphy, School of Medicine, have been awarded a $405,000 grant from Susan G. Komen. The award is one of 98 new research grants to receive $30.7 million collectively from the breast cancer organization in 2017, and it is one of nine awards focusing on disparities in breast cancer outcomes.
[Photo: Dr. Susan Steck (left) and Dr. Angela Murphy ]
The USC grant will be used to establish the Interdisciplinary Graduate Training to Eliminate Cancer Disparities (IGniTE-CD) program, supporting up to three doctoral students per year over the next three years. Training activities include lab/practice rotations, coursework, participation in seminars and journal clubs, abstract and manuscript submissions, and attendance at conferences and training events.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. It accounts for approximately one third of new cancer cases and is the second most common cause of cancer death among women. South Carolina has slightly higher incidence and mortality rates than the national average.
Significant disparities in this type of cancer can be found both in the United State and globally. African American women have about 40 percent higher risk of dying from breast cancer than white women. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age and with more advanced disease.
“Susan G. Komen has established a bold goal of reducing breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by the year 2026,” says Dr. Steck. “Addressing health disparities is an important way to have a major impact on death rates. Thus, the focus of Komen’s IGniTE-CD Program is to train the best and brightest young investigators to conduct research on breast cancer disparities. Our goal is to provide them with the knowledge and skills that they need in order to conduct meaningful research and become leaders in the field of breast cancer disparities.”