NIH Institutes Fund Seven New Tobacco Research Centers

March 1, 2005

This special “annual highlights” supplement to Oncology News International is acompilation of major advances in the management of lung cancer during 2004, asreported in ONI. Guest editor Dr. Roy Herbst discusses these advances in clinicalmanagement, with a focus on developments in adjuvant therapy for early disease,targeted therapy, and new chemotherapy findings.

BETHESDA, Maryland-ThreeNational Institutes of Health (NIH)units will provide $12 million over 5years to support seven new centersparticipating in the National CancerInstitute's Transdisciplinary TobaccoUse Research Center (TTURC) program.NCI will provide $7 million, withthe rest coming from the National Instituteon Drug Abuse and the NationalInstitute on Alcohol Abuse andAlcoholism.NCI began its collaborative tobaccoresearch initiative in 1999 with theawarding of grants to seven institutionsto establish centers. The newround of funding will support a spectrumof topics important to understandingtobacco-related diseases,their control, and psychosocial factorsthat influence smoking.The locations of the new centersand 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 SouthernCalifornia, C. Anderson Johnson,PhD; University of Pennsylvania,Caryn E. Lerman, PhD; and Yale University,Stephanie S. O'Malley, PhD.In announcing the new grants, NCIsaid that work at the original sevencenters had yielded important scientificfindings. Among the researchfindings cited by the institute:

  • University of Pennsylvania researchersidentified specific genes that,when combined with psychologicalfactors, may influence the progressionof adolescent smoking.
  • At the University of California,Irvine (UCI), scientists found thathostile, anxious, and depressed teenagersare more prone to smoke cigarettes.In collaboration with tobaccocenterresearchers at the University ofSouthern California, the UCI teamshowed that these psychological factorswork differently in white andAsian youth. Namely, hostility anddepression are associated with smokingamong white youths but notamong Asian teens, who are more likelyto smoke in social situations, thestudies showed.
  • Brown University researchersfound that the children of motherswho smoked a pack or more of cigarettesdaily during pregnancy had agreater risk of nicotine dependencethan children whose mothers did notsmoke during pregnancy.
  • Yale University investigators developeda new radiotracer that allowsresearchers to study the effects of tobacco smoking on the brain and explorethe role of the nicotinic systemin Alzheimer's disease, alcoholism,major depression, and schizophrenia.The NCI said that the RobertWood Johnson Foundation wouldjoin the original seven grantees in disseminatingthese and other importantresults. For more informationabout TTURCs, please visit thewebsite http:/cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb.tturc.