Hutch News Stories

NIH grant of $9.5 million continues McDougall-headed HPV studies

Hutch research on the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in human anogenital cancers continues at full strength, thanks to more than $9.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Jim McDougall, investigator in the Public Health Sciences and Human Biology divisions, is the principal investigator of the five-year grant, a continuation of 14 years of prior research support.

Hutch HPV research, which encompasses a variety of disciplines and cancer biologists from multiple Center divisions, has enabled such discoveries as the molecular mechanisms of HPV carcinogenesis and risk factors associated with development of cervical and another anogenital cancers.

While past research clearly implicated HPV as a strong risk factor for cancer, McDougall said that future studies will help clarify additional factors required for disease susceptibility and progression.

"The case for involvement of HPV in anogenital cancer is very strong, particularly with cervical carcinoma," he said.

"Consequently, there is a continuing need to establish the prevalence of specific HPV types and to determine the relationship of these viruses with the progression and prognosis of tumors.

"Of equal importance is the development of an understanding of the role of co-factors that may enhance progression to malignancy. Results from these studies, together with current vaccine trials, provide a basis for eventual prevention of these virus-induced cancers."

The project areas of the grant are:

  • Anogenital cancer: Prevalence, natural history and risk factors for primary and secondary tumors, Dr. Janet Daling, PHS
  • Virologic and immunologic factors associated with the risk of second malignancies, Dr. Denise Galloway, Human Biology and PHS.
  • Virologic, genetic factors linked with primary, secondary anogenital tumors, McDougall.

The grant also funds four cores, which support the research. McDougall leads the molecular biology and administrative cores, Dr. Peggy Porter, an investigator in Human Biology and PHS divisions, leads the pathology core, and Dr. Babette Brumback, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington, leads the biostatistics core.

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