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Camille Ragin Receives National Cancer Institute R01 Grant to Analyze Role of Genetic Ancestry in Oral Cancer Survival

May 15, 2019

Camille Ragin, PhD. Her research will test the hypothesis that genetic ancestry contributes to differences in expression of the DNA damage response gene called POLB, resulting in differences in survival between African American and white patients treated with standard therapies.Camille Ragin, PhD. Her research will test the hypothesis that genetic ancestry contributes to differences in expression of the DNA damage response gene called POLB, resulting in differences in survival between African American and white patients treated with standard therapies.

PHILADELPHIA (May 15, 2019) — Camille Ragin, PhD, an associate professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute for her research on a possible genetic explanation for racial disparities in oral cavity and laryngeal cancer survival rates.

Ragin’s lab will receive $667,865 during the current year, and may receive an additional $2.5 million over the next four years.

Ragin’s research will test the hypothesis that genetic ancestry contributes to differences in expression of the DNA damage response gene called POLB, resulting in differences in survival between African American and white patients treated with standard therapies. Her lab will collect tissue from oral cancer patients of African-American and European-American descent to look for disparities in POLB modulation that enhances DNA repair.

“For decades we have seen a consistent disparity between African Americans and European Americans when it comes to survival rates for oral cavity and laryngeal cancers,” Ragin said. “The literature suggests it may be related to lower screening rates, socioeconomic status, and other barriers to care. However our preliminary data suggest that host factors such as genetics may also contribute to survival disparities.”

In 2006, Ragin founded the African Caribbean Cancer Consortium, whose purpose is to investigate and respond to increasing cancer vulnerability African-descended populations worldwide. She has also done extensive work toward building a cancer research infrastructure in the Caribbean.

       

The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.
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