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$7.5 Million Grant for Breast Cancer Screening Research

December 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 15


University of Pennsylvania researchers have received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to create the Penn Center for Innovation in Personalized Breast Cancer Screening (PCIPS), dedicated to studying emerging methods of breast cancer detection. The NCI funding will allow the team, led by Perelman School of Medicine faculty Katrina Armstrong, chief of the division of Internal Medicine and associate director of Outcomes and Delivery in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Mitchell Schnall, Matthew J. Wilson Professor of Radiology, to use clinical, genomic and imaging information to guide the use of novel, personalized breast cancer screening strategies that will reduce false positive rates to improve outcomes. The research, which also involves researchers from medical oncology, psychiatry, and colleagues in the Annenberg School for Communication and the Wharton School, will be conducted through August 2016.

PCIPS research is three-fold. First, they will aim to improve breast cancer screening by creating a new "breast complexity index" to predict individual screening outcomes. Second, the team will also compare the effectiveness of new imaging technology, including digital breast tomosynthesis compared to conventional mammography. Third, they will create new strategies for communicating individual estimates of benefit and risk of alternative screening methods to better inform patients and health care providers. Along with these three projects, the Center will study outcome data of a diverse group of 74,000 women who undergo breast cancer screening at six sites in Penn Medicine's integrated health network. The center will use resources in breast imaging, primary care, communication, computer science, biostatistics, health services research, bioinformatics, medical oncology, cancer genetics and clinical leadership to advance the breast cancer screening process and encourage collaboration through NCI's Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR) network.

Almanac - December 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 15