$11 Million Grant to Examine Link Between Obesity and Cancer

Apr 18, 2017

UK President Eli Calilouto Talks about NIH Grant
Credit Stu Johnson

University of Kentucky medical researchers will use just over $11 million to further study the metabolism of cancer. 

The formal announcement of the National Institutes of Health’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant was made Monday.

Kentucky has disproportionately high rates of cancer and metabolic disorders. 

The Commonwealth leads the nation in cancer deaths and is among the top ten states for obesity rates.  UK Markey Cancer Center Director Mark Evers says this will amount to a new focus, “We’ve had a lot of initiatives devoted toward smoking and other bad habits, but this is first real grant that really gets at that obesity problem.”

Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis says if the metabolism of cancer cells can be altered to starve them, it could bring about a whole new therapeutic approach.  Cassis says the federal grant money also supports next generation research including mentoring which se says is critical considering the complex rules and regulations in place today.

Dr Daret St. Clair is program director at UK's Center for Cancer and Metabolism. She says the ultimate goal is to determine how what we eat can increase cancer risks, particularly in overweight people.  

St. Claire says the NIH funding also helps in gathering expertise from many researchers.