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News Highlights

August 16, 2017

Finding Potentially Improves Standard Mesothelioma Treatment

HONOLULU – University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers found that targeting chromosomal instability in mesothelioma, a very malignant cancer of the lining of the chest and abdomen often caused by asbestos, improves response to standard chemotherapies.

The study published in Oncogene found that a new drug known as CFI-402257 suppresses mesothelioma growth. The drug, synergized with the current standard of care for mesothelioma (Cisplatin/Pemetrexed therapy), reduced the growth of human mesothelioma cells thereby increasing the efficacy of the current standard of care. The preclinical findings indicated that CFI-402257 is a promising new therapeutic agent to improve current chemotherapeutic regimens for mesothelioma patients.

"We continue to search for weaknesses of mesothelioma cancer cells that can be exploited to improve current therapies for mesothelioma," said Dr. Haining Yang, senior author.

The research was coordinated and conducted in Hawai'i by Drs. Haining Yang and Michele Carbone at the UH Cancer Center, and in collaboration with the team of Dr. Tak Mak, at the University of Toronto.

Publication: Oncogene: Inhibition of the spindle assembly checkpoint kinase Mps-1 as a novel therapeutic strategy in malignant mesothelioma
DOI: 10.1038/onc.2017.266

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 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 28, 2017

STUDY FINDS HIGH-QUALITY DIET CAN REDUCE INTERNAL BODY FAT

HONOLULU – A long term healthy, high-quality diet can reduce the risk of cardiometabolic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or stroke according to a new University of Hawai'i Cancer Center Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study.

A high-quality diet includes a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, with lean, low-fat protein sources plus, fat-free or low-fat dairy foods and oils, such as olive oil. An important component of a high-quality diet is limiting sodium (salt) intake, and empty calories from sugar and saturated and trans fat.

"The burden of chronic diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes and breast cancer, is high among many ethnic groups in Hawai'i. Therefore, it is important to study how diet may improve excess body weight and fatty liver. This may allow the development of better prevention strategies," said Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD, first author and UH Cancer Center Cancer Epidemiology Program researcher.

The participants completed food frequency questionnaires from 1993 to 1996 and clinic visits in 2013 to 2016 and underwent whole-body and abdominal scans. Four science-based diet quality scores predicted lower visceral fat, excess body fat within the abdomen and the liver, and fatty liver. Of the 2,000 participants of the Multiethnic Cohort, more than half live in Hawai'i and Los Angeles.

Individuals with the highest diet quality scores were 35 to 59 percent less likely to have high visceral fat and were also 22 to 43 percent less likely to have fatty liver than those with the lowest scores.

"In recent years, the importance of body fat distribution has emerged. Visceral fat appears to be a stronger risk factor for chronic diseases than body fat located directly under the skin. The proportion of visceral fat appears to differ by ethnicity with higher levels among individuals of Japanese and other Asian ancestries than Whites," said Maskarinec. "The new findings suggest that body fat distribution beyond excess body weight is a critical feature to consider when advising individuals about the health effects of their regular diets."

Publication
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21868/full
DOI: 10.1002/oby.21868

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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