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Border Health Research

Center of Excellence in Cancer

The Center of Excellence in Cancer aims to apply novel concepts, methodologies, and technologies to cancer research, prevention and intervention. The Center's focus is to perform basic, clinical and translational research, to study endocrine related cancers, cancers prevalent in the local population, and to identify molecular mechanisms using cutting edge technologies. Current research underway address the role of various genes in breast cancer development, hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women and the associated risk of breast cancer, and the role of progesterone in the promotion of breast cancer. Complementing these are studies that are being conducted to investigate the impact of plant products in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

The state of the art facilities and the location of the Paul L Foster School of Medicine allow for the study of genes and proteins critical to examining those cancers with disproportionate impacts on Hispanic populations compared to other populations. For example, breast cancer represents a higher proportion of all cancer mortality among Hispanic women than among women of other ethnicities, so a significant basic science effort in Hispanic breast cancer is underway. Similarly, colorectal screening rates are low in Hispanics, therefore the Center is developing screening research programs that target barriers to screening in this population. The Center currently has an NIH-funded program in colon cancer screening research.

Community outreach through symposiums and lectures provide the Center the opportunity to increase cancer awareness, prevention, and treatment. As the Center grows, collaborations between researchers, physicians and epidemiologists will increase and help to build a strong, nationally and internationally acclaimed cancer research program that will lead to the development of novel prevention and therapeutic strategies against malignant cancers.