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African Cancer Genome Registry Seeks Participants to Improve Understanding of Higher Risk, Mortality

NEW YORK – The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine on Tuesday said it is recruiting men and women of diverse African ancestries who have been diagnosed with prostate or breast cancer and are willing to donate their genomic and medical data to a registry that can help researchers better understand cancer risks and mortality in historically medically underserved populations.

Researchers are seeking 200 participants from South Florida to join the African Cancer Genome Registry and another 1,800 participants from international sites, including the Caribbean and the African nations Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Namibia. Consenting participants will provide saliva, blood, and tissue samples for genetic testing; data on behavioral, nutritional, medical, and family cancer history; and quality-of-life information.

The registry is being built in collaboration with Pfizer's Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine. The African Caribbean Cancer Consortium will also contribute resources to the project. Sophia George and Camille Ragin, who are both associate directors of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Temple University's Fox Chase Cancer Center, respectively, are co-principal investigators of the study.

In the Caribbean and Africa, breast and prostate cancer are leading causes of cancer death, and prostate cancer mortality rates are among the highest in the world among Caribbean men. "People of African ancestry disproportionately develop aggressive, high-grade cancers, particularly in breast, endometrial, ovarian, and prostate tissue, and the underlying driving factors are not well understood," George said in a statement. The African Cancer Genome Registry will seek to shed light on why those risks are greater for Black men and women.