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Exploring Environmental Causes for Breast Cancer

Four research centers get federal grant to collaborate

THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Four new Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers in the United States will receive $35 million over the next seven years from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.

The new centers are at the University of Cincinnati, Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, the University of California, San Francisco, and Michigan State University.

The four centers will collaborate in several areas. Using animals, they'll study the development of mammary tissue and the effects of specific environmental agents. They'll also enroll young girls from different ethnic groups and study their life exposures to a number of environmental, nutritional and social factors during puberty.

Each center will also specialize in certain areas of research. For example, the University of Cincinnati will investigate factors that influence the decline in age of onset of menstruation and identify improved early markers for cancer susceptibility.

In addition, all the centers will work with advocacy groups to incorporate their insight and experience into the research effort.

"Although diagnosis and treatment are improving, breast cancer is the leading cancer in women," Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, says in a prepared statement.

"To improve this picture, we need to better understand the elusive environmental piece of the breast cancer puzzle. If we can understand the early events that can set the stage for breast cancer, we can do more to prevent this disease," Zerhouni says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about breast cancer.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, Oct. 14, 2003
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