Interdisciplinary Genetic Epidemiology (Past Initiative)
Background on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer
During the last decade, the identification of human genes conferring susceptibility for complex diseases, and the application of increasingly sophisticated molecular technologies to the study of human genetics have provided new ways to analyze the human genome and to look at the relationship between phenotype and genotype in cancer and other complex diseases.
Also, traditional statistical methods used in genetics are yielding to new methodologies developed to encompass both genetic and epidemiologic risk factors. Investigators in the genetic epidemiology of cancer can now attempt to incorporate developments in molecular genetics into population studies, and greatly increase insights into the genetic and environmental determinants of this disease.
In 1998, the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), DCCPS, NCI, in collaboration with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to soliciting cooperative agreement applications for collaborative and interdisciplinary genetic epidemiology investigations designed to identify and evaluate the interactions of genetic and epidemiologic risk factors leading to cancer susceptibility in individuals, families and populations, and factors influencing the rate of increase with age in cancer susceptibility. This RFA (RFA CA-98-018) was the re-issuance of a previous NCI-funded initiative (RFA CA-93-020).
Research supported under the prior initiative has provided a fundamental contribution to the identification and characterization of breast, colon, and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes, and to the understanding of the interaction of these genes with known epidemiologic risk factors.
The overall purpose of the current RFA is to support multi-site, interdisciplinary studies of the complex interaction between genetic and other endogenous as well as exogenous risk factors in the etiology of cancer, with special consideration given to population-based research on the unique aspects of cancer susceptibility genes (especially low relative risk, high attributable risk because of wide distribution in the population under study).
The goals of this initiative reflect the areas of priority identified by the NCI Bypass Budgets for FY 2000 and FY 2001 .
- identify genes that increase or decrease cancer susceptibility and the environmental factors that modify such suceptibility, using cutting-edge technology and analytical strategies and disciplinary integration;
- uncover the gene-gene and gene-environment interactions determining cancer susceptibility; and
- apply the newly gained knowledge to the development of new approaches to cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.