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Cancer research is a growing focus in Hawai'i

University of Hawaiʻi News

Cancer research is a multimillion-dollar endeavor in Hawaiʻi. But where does some of that funding go?

When it comes to cancer research in Hawaiʻi, the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center is in the lead. That organization has received some 68 grants between 2019 and 2021, totaling $47 million for a wide range of studies.

With those grants and other state and federal support, the center has an annual budget of $40 million.

According to Loic Le Marchand, interim director of the cancer center, one of its largest ongoing studies is the Multiethnic Cohort Study, in partnership with the University of Southern California. It looks at the links between obesity and the risk of liver and pancreatic cancers.

The center is also using state funding to renovate chemotherapy clinics, bring in new drug treatments and expand patient access.

The center doesn’t go it alone. In 2010, it established the Hawaiʻi Cancer Consortium, involving multiple major hospitals and insurers to conduct research and clinical trials.

One concern top of mind for Le Marchand is the changes in how we live as a result of the pandemic years — which may lead to increased cancers in Hawaiʻi.

People have skipped or delayed screenings, or experienced changes in mental health, diet or lifestyle that could elevate cancer risks.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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