SKCC Researchers Receive NIH Grant to Study Prostate Cancer Disparities among African Americans


Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) researchers have received a planning grant for Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) to Investigate Cancer Health Disparities (P20 grant) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study a “precision interception approach” to prevent prostate cancer progression among African American men.

Grace Lu-Yao, PhD, MPH, Associate Director of Population Science, and Wm. Kevin Kelly, DO, Leader of the Prostate Cancer Program and Associate Director of Clinical Research at SKCC, will be leading the research at SKCC and working with colleagues from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and the U.S. Department of Defense Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR).

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-cutaneous malignancy and a leading cause of cancer deaths in men, and African American men die from prostate cancer at a rate more than double that of men of any other race or ethnicity. This disparity is associated with multiple factors, including unequal access to screening and treatment, and biological differences in tumors that may affect prognosis and treatment. The ability to predict and monitor prostate cancer progression and provide better treatment options for African American men is critical to reducing disparities.

The grant will allow the researchers to develop and implement tools that can “intercept” the development of castrate-resistant or metastatic prostate cancer and death from prostate cancer in African American men. The research team will develop innovative treatments and define new approaches for therapeutic intervention specifically focused on African American men, as well as identify subtypes and biomarkers of disease progression and response among these men. Their research will also focus on promoting and implementing these impactful approaches to identifying risk for and treating prostate cancer among African American men in communities.

“By incorporating biomarkers, contextual variables, comorbidities, and other factors into treatment strategies, these innovative tools will improve the management of prostate cancer and quality of life for countless African American men,” Dr. Lu-Yao said.

“This collaborative award is part of a major initiative at SKCC to end cancer disparities. Prostate cancer disproportionately affects men in the Philadelphia region, and SKCC is committed to eliminating the disparities in outcome for African American men. We are proud to work with Dana-Farber, Moffitt Cancer Center and CPDR on this important mission, which will be of impact across the nation,” said Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, Enterprise Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.