Operated jointly by Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center (BMC), the BU-BMC Cancer Center brings together diverse BU researchers who are involved in cancer research, broadly defined—ranging from basic laboratory science to patient care to population-based studies. In line with BU’s tradition of collaborative, interdisciplinary research, the center’s work includes studies of how cancer starts and progresses in high-risk populations, as well as the clinical application of its findings. The richly diverse BMC patient population enables the center to ask and answer new questions about cancer. For example: How can revolutionary new cancer therapies that have been only tested on small groups be made available to many more patients—and make healthcare more equitable?

The center hosts four research programs combating illness and death from cancer:

  • Population sciences to identify exposures and genetic factors affecting risk and prognosis
  • Cancer biology to bridge the translational gap to improve cancer care
  • Cancer interception to improve prevention, detection and treatment by identifying environmentally induced cellular and molecular changes
  • Cancer bioengineering to develop cutting-edge diagnostics and therapies

Specialized centers and studies extend the University’s expertise in the field.

Ambitious in design and reach, the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) has followed 59,000 African American women for nearly 25 years, using biennial questionnaires to collect information about factors such as diet, physical activity, and stressors, and deriving genetic and other biologic information from participants’ saliva, blood, and tumor tissue samples. The result has been an abundance of information for research on cancer, diabetes, preterm birth, and other health conditions. One startling finding: women with two or more births had an increased risk of estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer, the fast-growing subtype that disproportionately affects US Black women, but among those who had breastfed at least one of their babies, that risk was ameliorated.

The Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center focuses on personalized, genomic approaches to differentiate aggressive cancers that must be removed or irradiated from less aggressive ones, preventing unnecessary treatments and their often severe side effects.

The Shamim and Ashraf Dahod Breast Cancer Research Center brings together all of BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s research into the prevention, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. This interdisciplinary approach opens the door to new ways of thinking and new discoveries.

The BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine has a long history of research leading to better treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of cancer. Today, with help from supporters like Shipley and the Dahod’s, the school is working harder than ever to fight this disease.

To learn how you can help, please contact the BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Development team.

Learn more about BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine’s cancer research here.