- Funding Opportunities
- Funded Projects
- Research Resources
- Key Reports
- Workshops, Conferences, and Interagency Meetings
How Can Future Research Efforts Address Combined Environmental Exposures?
Environmental epidemiology seeks to understand how physical, chemical, biologic, as well as, social and economic factors affect human health. Social factors, that is where one lives, works, socializes or buys food, often influence exposure to environmental factors.
The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), supports extramural research that investigates environmental factors that may contribute to the etiology of cancer. Environmental exposures are largely modifiable; understanding how they affect cancer risk can lead to effective interventions to reduce or eliminate their impact.
Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP)
NIH published two FOAs that together will constitute the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) Consortium. The BCERP has been co-funded by NCI and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) since 2003 and supports transdisciplinary research on the interactions of environmental factors (including chemical, physical, and social environmental) with genetic factors during windows of susceptibility throughout a woman's lifespan that potentially influence breast cancer risk. The FOAs expire January 29, 2015, unless reissued.
EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs. EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on environmental health topics.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) also sponsors FOAs related to environmental health and cancer.
Examples of ongoing Cooperative Agreements investigating cancer and the environment in which EGRP staff serve as Program Officers include:
- Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program
- Deepwater Horizon Disaster Research Consortia: Health Impacts and Community Resiliency
- Cancer Mortality among Military Participants at U.S. Nuclear Weapons Tests: The Eight-Series Study
Significant past initiatives EGRP has been involved with include:
- Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project
- Geographic Information System for Breast Cancer Studies on Long Island
- Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Breast Cancer Study
- Cancer Epidemiology Cohorts
Cohorts are powerful tools with the potential to address scientific questions not amenable, or unlikely to be addressed, by other study designs like prevention or clinical trials. Evidence generated has also been useful in providing the basis for the design and testing of many preventive, therapeutic, and health policy interventions.
- Cancer Registries
This compilation of resources provides links to information on cancer statistics, such as incidence, mortality, and the prevalence of certain risk factors.
- Cancer Research Consortia
EGRP supports a growing number of national and international research consortia focusing on intradisciplinary and translational research on common and rare cancers.
- Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR)
An ongoing NIEHS project to help scientists screen for genetic polymorphisms in "environmentally sensitive genes." The EPR is available to scientists interested in using data from DNA provided by more than 17,000 individuals, who may be called back for more detailed studies.
- Maps and Geographic Information Systems
Compilation of NCI initiatives and sources of cancer-related maps, GISs, training, and more.
The PhenX Toolkit provides background information on measures recommended for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and other large-scale genomic research efforts, along with standard operating procedures, common data elements, controlled vocabularies, a glossary of terms, standard analytic procedures to harmonize similar measures, and an outline of suggested protocols and methods for analyzing GWAS data.
Links to sources of cancer-related statistics, including the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, SEER-Medicare datasets, cancer survivor prevalence data, and the Cancer Trends Progress Report.
- Study Design/Planning Tools
Tools from NCI's intramural Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics for estimating intake of mutagenic compounds from meats and pesticide exposures and questionnaires for alcohol intake, anthropometrics, diet, EMFs, household and occupational exposures, physical activity, radiation, pharmaceuticals, reproductive and sexual history, residential history, smoking, and others.
Compilation of surveys containing information which may be useful for cancer epidemiology and genomics studies, including behavioral risk factors, health information, medical care, and more.
- Report of the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, Breast Cancer and the Environment - Prioritizing Prevention" [PDF - 5.76 MB]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures: An Action Agenda"
- President's Cancer Panel 2008-2009 Report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk - What We Can Do Now" [PDF - 7.28 MB]
Workshops, Conferences, and Interagency Meetings
EGRP co-sponsors workshops and meetings to convene experts in the fields of cancer epidemiology and environmental research to review the state-of-the-science, identify research gaps, and establish scientific agendas/priorities for the future, such as:
- Isocyanates & Health: Past, Present, and Future - April 2013
- Gene-Environment Think Tank - January 2012
- Expert Panel on Early Life Events and Cancer - May 2011
- Health Burden of Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) on Women and Children - May 2011
- Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee
- Joint China-U.S. Workshop on Environmental Pollution and Cancer - January 2010
For general questions about NCI's interest in cancer and the environment, EGRP contacts include:
- Chemical and physical agents, and the social environment - Gary L. Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Climate change and indoor air pollution - Britt C. Reid, D.D.S., Ph.D.
- Early life exposures - Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Gene-Environment interactions - Leah Mechanic, Ph.D., M.P.H.