The National Cancer Institute-designated Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center (MECC) has partnered with the Price Family Foundation to fund eight research teams developing novel cancer therapies and improving cancer outcomes for historically marginalized communities in the Bronx. The inaugural Price Family Foundation Health Equity Pilot Awards will provide $200,000 in funding over two years to each team and support basic science, translational, and clinical investigators focusing on cancers that are highly prevalent in the Bronx.
Reducing cancer disparities means teasing apart and addressing the various causes of cancer-;from the genetic and molecular to environmental and occupational exposures-;that result in worse outcomes for Black, Brown, and other marginalized people in our country. We are grateful to have found a partner in the Price Family Foundation, which believes, as we do, in the importance of research that promotes health equity in the Bronx, which will inform cancer care here at our cancer center and throughout the country.”
Edward Chu, M.D., M.M.S., director of the MECC; vice president for cancer medicine at Montefiore Health System; and the Carol and Roger Einiger Professor of Cancer Medicine and professor of medicine, of oncology, and of molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Advancing cancer equity
The Bronx has one of the most diverse populations in the United States. Nearly 44% of people identify as Black or African American and 56% Hispanic; more than a third of residents were born in another country. Despite growing evidence that many molecular causes of cancer and disease progression are different in Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) than in white people, BIPOCs are often excluded from clinical trials, and their genetic makeup is ignored in preclinical studies testing possible treatments.
“The Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center is committed to leading the way in identifying new molecular alterations, targets, and signaling pathways that can be the focus for new drugs, immunotherapies, and novel treatments among people of color,” Dr. Chu added, noting that the research will also help inform new strategies for early detection, screening, and prevention for all patients.
The winning proposals include a range of investigations for a variety of cancers-;including lung, head and neck, prostate, gynecologic, and breast-;that disproportionately affect Black, Asian, Hispanic, and other non-white populations. The pilot studies will help generate data that the investigators can use to apply for federal funding to further their research.