UC Davis physician featured in national health equity project
Research to explore differences in liver cancer mortality in Asian-Americans
UC Davis professor Christopher Bowlus of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and his liver cancer disparity research, are featured on the Health Equity Research Snapshot of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
Bowlus’ research was selected as one of seven newly funded projects underway at AAMC member institutions to represent the rich variety of populations and health outcomes that health equity researchers investigate. The projects demonstrate how research at every stage – from fundamental discovery science to community-based participatory research – contributes to closing or narrowing gaps in health and health care. Each team produced a video describing their research projects.
Asian-Americans have disproportionately high rates of liver cancer and liver cancer mortality. For this population, hepatitis B virus is the principle risk factor for the disease, mostly because it is transmitted from mother to baby in childbirth.
Bowlus and colleagues with expertise in molecular and genomic diagnostics, biostatistics and cancer health disparities, aim to discover potential biological reasons why some Asian-American ethnicities have higher mortality rates and present at younger ages with late-stage disease.
For their research, they will compare the viral factors associated with liver cancer prognosis in Laotian and Hmong individuals infected with HBV with HBV-infected Chinese and Vietnamese individuals. They will also assess the immune responses associated with liver cancer survival in the same groups.
Bowlus explained that better understanding of the biologic basis of disparities in liver cancer survivors among Asian American ethnicities could help clinicians better assess a patient’s risk for liver cancer and could lead to new approaches to treatment.
For more information about the AAMC Health Equity Research Snapshot and to view the video, visit www.aamc.org/healthequitysnapshot. You can also follow them on Twitter at #healthequity.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.