ND's Harper Institute needs help in cancer study

By: Newscenter16 Email
By: Newscenter16 Email

South Bend, Ind. Researchers at Notre Dame's Harper Cancer Research Institute need a bit of help battling some of the most aggressive forms of cancer -- and Michiana residents could be the key.

Back in November, NewsCenter16 reported that the University of Notre Dame received a grant from the Walther Cancer Foundation for a joint study with Moi University in Kenya, allowing researchers to study the most aggressive and deadly forms of breast cancer.

Scientists wanted to travel to Kenya to study why this cancer is particularly problematic.

"The patients with breast cancer develop cancer early in life -- in their teens and 20s -- much earlier than in this country," said Dr. Laurie Littlepage, lead researcher on the project.

The group planned to make a trip to Kenya to further their studies, but turmoil in the region has canceled their trip.

Now researchers are asking for area volunteers of Kenyan descent to help out with this research.

"Our goal is to recruit any Kenyans regardless of their cancer status," explained Sally Xie, a Notre Dame Global Health graduate student.
"We don't have the same population compared to others so we really need to recruit a lot of volunteers and reach out to them."

The results of the study could be beneficial for cancer sufferers overseas and in the U.S.

"If there are Kenyans in this country that have breast cancer, we could potentially learn some of the root causes of this disease," Dr. Littlepage said. "What we learn might help us understand more about breast cancer in African Americans in this country and others suffering from aggressive forms."

Interviewing will not begin right away but those who qualify for the study can reach out to the organizers by emailing Sally Xie at jxie1@nd.edu or calling (574)631-3532.

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