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News Highlights

July 13, 2017

A CUP OF COFFEE MAY HELP YOU LIVE LONGER

HONOLULU - Drinking coffee was associated with a reduced risk of death in the 24-year long Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study conducted at the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center. Coffee drinkers had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, kidney and respiratory disease.

  • One cup a day was associated with a 12 percent decrease in risk of death overall, and
  • two to three cups with an 18 percent decrease.

"As in other states, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in Hawai`i, the only state in the U.S. where coffee is grown commercially. Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have a protective effect, it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle," said Song-Yi Park, PhD, first author of the study and assistant specialist in the UH Cancer Center's Cancer Epidemiology Program.

The study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found no further decrease in risk of death with higher coffee consumption. Also, the health benefit was seen regardless of whether coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated, suggesting that the beneficial effect comes from the coffee itself, not caffeine.

The study confirmed that higher consumption of coffee is associated with a lower risk of death, and that this association exists in other populations - African Americans, Japanese Americans, Native Hawaiians and Latinos - who have different lifestyles and disease susceptibilities. The findings are consistent with previous studies that looked at majority Caucasian populations.

Multiethnic Cohort (MEC)
The MEC is a prospective epidemiological study in which 215,000 Hawai`i and Los Angeles residents, aged 45-75 at recruitment in 1993-1996, completed a questionnaire about their dietary habits. The participants are being followed for occurrence of cancer, other chronic diseases, and death. The MEC study is being conducted to find the best approach to achieving a health promoting diet in Hawai`i and across the nation.

For the current study, researchers analyzed data from 185,855 participants:
  • 17 % African-Americans
  • 29 % Japanese-Americans
  • 22 % Latinos
  • 25 % whites, and
  • 7 % Native Hawaiians

Publication
http://owl.li/7mdt30dyqkV

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News Highlights

July 7, 2017

UH CANCER CENTER RESEARCHER RECEIVES FULBRIGHT AWARD TO STUDY BREAST CANCER IN CAUCASIAN AND ASIAN WOMEN

HONOLULU – Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD, researcher in the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center's Cancer Epidemiology Program received a $20,000 Fulbright Award, to enable her to research the relation of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer in Caucasian and Asian women.

The research will address the global health problems of obesity, diabetes, and breast cancer. As a nutritional epidemiologist, Dr. Maskarinec will perform comparative research using new statistical methods for six weeks at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland, one month at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, UK, and six weeks at the Research Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. In addition she will give lectures and seminars in the area of her research, in particular nutritional epidemiology and ethnic differences in disease risk.

"No greater example of the continued importance of international education can be found than in the determination and drive of our 2017-18 grantees. These students, academics and professionals have identified the relevance of intercultural cooperation to their careers," said Amy Moore, director of the Fulbright Awards Programme.

The Fulbright Commission provides awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited US or UK university. The Commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright programme and a plan to give back to the US upon returning.

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural, and environmental characteristics of Hawai'i and the Pacific.
Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

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News Highlights

July 11, 2017

The UH Cancer Center's New Certified Clinical Research Professionals

Five University of Hawai'i Cancer Center staff passed the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) examination in March 2017.

plant
From left to right: Erin Fukuya, Greg Smith,
James Tom, Tammy Wolf and Thomas Syverson

New Cancer Center SOCRA CCRPs

  • Erin Fukaya, Clinical Research Associate;
  • Greg Smith, Clinical Research Associate;
  • Thomas Syverson, Clinical Research Specialist;
  • James Tom, Clinical Research Associate; and
  • Tammy Wolf, Human Subjects Research Compliance Director.
As SOCRA CCRPs, they are recognized as professionals in medical research who have achieved an internationally accepted standard of knowledge, education and experience.

The SOCRA certification exam tested their knowledge and understanding of human clinical research in accordance with the International Council for Harmonization Guidelines, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, and ethical principles that guide clinical research.

SOCRA Hawai'i Chapter
The SOCRA Hawai'i Chapter was established in 2016, in an effort to offer educational resources and programs beneficial to clinical research professionals.

Anyone interested in the SOCRA certification exam can contact Munirih Taafaki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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News Highlights

July 5, 2017

HONOLULU – Dr. Michele Carbone, the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center's director of Thoracic Oncology, and his team discovered the metabolic alterations caused by BAP1 gene mutations. The normal cells of individuals born with mutations of the BAP1 gene derive energy through aerobic glycolysis which produces lactic acid, rather than respiration, and thus display a set of metabolic alterations known as the Warburg Effect, which so far was considered an indication of cancer cells.

The findings published in Cell Death and Differentiation provide the first experimental evidence that the Warburg Effect, does not necessarily occur as an adaptive process that is a consequence of a cell becoming cancerous, but rather that it may also predate malignancy by many years and facilitate cancer development.

The discovery explains why individuals who are born with germline BAP1 mutations have so far developed at least one and often multiple cancers in their lifetime. About 20 percent of all cancers have BAP1 mutations. Carbone and collaborators are now developing novel strategies to correct these metabolic alterations to prevent cancer in people born with BAP1 mutations.

Dr. Carbone's work is the result of teamwork with collaborators and experts in different fields of science and medicine. Dr. Carbone's research team collaborated with the research teams of Drs. Haining Yang and Wei Jia at the UH Cancer Center, and with researchers at New York University and University of Ferrara, Italy.

BAP1 cancer syndrome
In 2011, Dr. Carbone and colleagues discovered "the BAP1 cancer syndrome" uncovering why certain families had a high incidence of mesothelioma, a cancer caused mostly by asbestos, melanoma and other cancers.

"I want to prevent and cure cancer in as many people as possible. We have been fortunate to see that our research and discoveries have already led to preventive measures that are expected to save many lives in the coming years. Now I want to develop a new therapy to help those who have cancer," said Dr. Carbone.

Publication
Cell Death and Differentiation: http://owl.li/Vwi030dijG1
doi: 10.1038/cdd.2017.95

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, patient care and community outreach with an emphasis on the unique ethnic, cultural, and environmental characteristics of Hawai'i and the Pacific.
Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

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