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NIH Institutes Fund Seven New Tobacco Research Centers

NIH Institutes Fund Seven New Tobacco Research Centers

BETHESDA, Maryland-Three National Institutes of Health (NIH) units will provide $12 million over 5 years to support seven new centers participating in the National Cancer Institute's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC) program. NCI will provide $7 million, with the rest coming from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NCI began its collaborative tobacco research initiative in 1999 with the awarding of grants to seven institutions to establish centers. The new round of funding will support a spectrum of topics important to understanding tobacco-related diseases, their control, and psychosocial factors that influence smoking. The locations of the new centers and the principal investigators are: Brown University and Miriam Hospital, Raymond Niaura, PhD; University of Wisconsin, Timothy B. Baker, PhD; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, K. Michael Cummings, PhD; University of Minnesota, Dorothy K. Hatsukami, PhD; University of Southern California, C. Anderson Johnson, PhD; University of Pennsylvania, Caryn E. Lerman, PhD; and Yale University, Stephanie S. O'Malley, PhD. In announcing the new grants, NCI said that work at the original seven centers had yielded important scientific findings. Among the research findings cited by the institute:

  • University of Pennsylvania researchers identified specific genes that, when combined with psychological factors, may influence the progression of adolescent smoking.
  • At the University of California, Irvine (UCI), scientists found that hostile, anxious, and depressed teenagers are more prone to smoke cigarettes. In collaboration with tobaccocenter researchers at the University of Southern California, the UCI team showed that these psychological factors work differently in white and Asian youth. Namely, hostility and depression are associated with smoking among white youths but not among Asian teens, who are more likely to smoke in social situations, the studies showed.
  • Brown University researchers found that the children of mothers who smoked a pack or more of cigarettes daily during pregnancy had a greater risk of nicotine dependence than children whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy.
  • Yale University investigators developed a new radiotracer that allows researchers to study the effects of tobacco smoking on the brain and explore the role of the nicotinic system in Alzheimer's disease, alcoholism, major depression, and schizophrenia. The NCI said that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation would join the original seven grantees in disseminating these and other important results. For more information about TTURCs, please visit the website http:/cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ tcrb.tturc.

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