Aim 1: Facilitate clinical research in cancer genetics by establishing a patient registry and database as well as a blood serum and tissue bank.
The establishment of a patient registry/database and a serum/tissue bank enables doctors and researchers at the University of Chicago to explore the mechanisms that cause familial cancer while also improving screening and detection methods. These data and samples allow doctors and researchers to study and improve cancer treatment and prevention methods, enhance health services for current and future patients, and assess the ethical, legal, and social implications of studying cancer genetics in order to ensure proper, high-quality outcomes for generations to come.
Patient data and samples are collected only from patients who provide informed consent, are maintained on secure servers and/or in secure rooms, and are continually reviewed by the University of Chicago's Institutional Review Board.
Aim 2: Expand the numbers and diversity of patients seen at the Cancer Risk Clinic.
Disparities in health according to race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and other group differences have been documented in the United States for decades. Despite intense scrutiny, the persistence of this and other disparities and our inability to fully explain or understand them suggest new research paradigms are needed. The center collaborates with investigators at the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research to help understand group disparities in breast cancer, notably why black women develop earlier-onset breast tumors that are more aggressive and lethal than do caucasian women.
The Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Chicago is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of as many individuals and families as possible. By assessing individuals and families from a diverse variety of backgrounds, the center is able to help create health equity and gain a more well-rounded understanding of genetic patterns among different populations. This allows researchers around the world to compare genetic and lifestyle patterns in order to learn more about how genetic, social, and enviromental factors impact cancer incidence and outcomes.
Aim 3: Disseminate information about cancer genetics.
Dissemination (sharing) of research findings and discoveries is key to improving screening, diagnoses, treatment, prevention, and services. The Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics aims to help disseminate information about cancer genetics through its community education and outreach initiatives, providing postdoctoral fellowships in clinical cancer genetics, holding clinical cancer genetics workshops, and holding an annual Translational Research Conference, which helps facilitate the translation of research into clinical practice.
The long-term objective of the center is to increase the quality and flow of health information, especially about breast cancer and its treatment, between communities on the south side of Chicago and investigators at the University of Chicago. Communication of this nature will help to promote an understanding of the social, behavioral/psychological, and biological/genetic factors influencing differences between those who are African American and those who are Caucasian in breast cancer onset and course.
No protected health information from patients is ever disseminated to the public or professionals outside of the University of Chicago. Rather, consenting patients' data is de-identified and pooled together in order to assess patterns in genes, lifestyles, treatments, and health outcomes.