(HealthNewsDigest.com) – ANN ARBOR, Mich. – New research will focus on finding better treatments for minority children with high-risk cancer malignancies — a group whose outcomes and survival rates are worse than other pediatric patients.
The multi-institutional project, led by University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, will include clinical sequencing of a multi-ethnic cohort of pediatric cancer patients from Ann Arbor, Detroit and Flint. The research will focus on further understanding cancer biology in minority children as well as other factors — including socioeconomic background and access to care — which may contribute to disparities in outcomes.
The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation recently awarded a $592,100 grant for the project, which is a collaboration between Mott and Children’s Hospital of Michigan along with support from the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center and Michigan Medicine.
“We have seen tremendous improvement in outcomes of children with cancer, but survival for those with recurrent or metastatic disease remains dismal — and outcomes are even worse for minority children,” says lead researcher and Mott pediatric oncologist Rajen Mody, M.D.
“This research will provide critical insights into the tumor biology of minority children, which will be key to developing innovative therapies. We will also be identifying barriers that prevent minority and underprivileged patients in Detroit and Flint from accessing cutting-edge technology in the cancer field.”
Researchers plan to study tumor DNA and RNA along with normal DNA in a diverse population of child and adolescent cancer patients with relapsed or resistant rare tumors. The cohort will comprise 40 percent African-American patients, 10 percent Middle Eastern and 50 percent Caucasian. Patients are being treated in a variety of health care settings, including urban academic (Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit), suburban academic (U-M) and an urban community center (Hurley Medical Center in Flint).
“We will be comparing the biological differences between malignant tumors of majority and minority populations in order to better understand the disparities in outcomes,” Mody says.