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Home | Tag Archives: Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

Tag Archives: Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

CPRIT Awards $1.9 Million Grant to TTUHSC El Paso

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded four new grants to the Texas Tech University System totaling over $6 million, including a $1.9 million grant to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

TTUHSC El Paso’s prevention grant will go toward Tiempo de Vacunarte 2 (Time to Get Vaccinated Two), a cancer prevention program that focuses on cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The program is directed by co-principal investigators Jennifer C. Molokwu, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor and director of medical student education in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso, and Jessica Calderón-Mora, Dr.P.H., a research instructor in the Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine’s Center of Emphasis in Cancer and a clinical instructor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

The program will expand efforts to make HPV vaccinations available to uninsured or underinsured residents of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson and Brewster Counties.

HPV vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing HPV infections, according to the National Cancer Institute. HPV is a group of related viruses, and infections from some types of HPV can cause cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar and vaginal cancers.

Cervical cancer is most often caused by HPV. According to the NCI, El Paso County has a rate of 10.3 cases of cervical cancer per 100,000 females, significantly worse than the U.S. rate of 7.5 cases per 100,000.

Tiempo de Vacunarte 2 will create outreach across a network of 175 community sites, as well as expansion to new sites, including school districts, community centers, clinics, faith-based organizations, food banks, city/county services, local and state health departments, and other community-based organizations.

To date, CPRIT has awarded $2.4 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 181 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 36 companies to Texas, and generated over $3 billion in additional public and private investment.

CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 5.7 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texans from all 254 counties.

In May 2019, the Texas Legislature approved a constitutional amendment for the Nov. 5, 2019 general election ballot to authorize an additional $3 billion in bonds for cancer research and prevention.

TTUHSC El Paso Awarded $3.7 Million Colorectal Cancer Prevention Grant

Navkiran Shokar, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., has received $3.7 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to reduce the impact of colorectal cancer in West Texas.

Doctors recommend adults ages 50 and older get tested for colon cancer, but many West Texans are not following these guidelines. Only 54 percent of qualifying El Pasoans get tested for the cancer, compared to 69 percent of the rest of the U.S. Rural West Texas counties fare far worse, with screening rates falling as low as 28 percent.

“In West Texas, colorectal cancer cases and mortality rates are significant,” Dr. Shokar explained. “The lack of knowledge about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, coupled with a lack of access to screening services, has created a barrier to health care in our region.”

Dr. Shokar will use the grant to expand the reach of the Southwest Coalition for Colorectal Cancer Screening (SuCCCeS), a collaboration among public, private, non-profit, and for-profit health service providers led by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). SuCCCeS’ goal is to increase the number of El Pasoans who are getting screened for colon cancer.

The new CPRIT funds will help SuCCCeS expand its service area to an additional 25 West Texas counties, encompassing an area with a combined population of nearly 2.9 million residents.

These counties, which stretch from Big Bend Country to the Panhandle Plains, have high rates of poverty, low educational attainment, low rates of health care coverage, are predominantly Hispanic, and are critically medically underserved. In fact, several of the target counties do not have a single physician.

Dr. Shokar and the coalition will begin the effort by integrating services into health care organizations in El Paso, as well as within clinics in the over 40,000-square-mile region. The team will offer free colorectal cancer screening services to eligible men and women; in-person and video colon cancer prevention education that is bilingual; and navigation to timely treatment for participants who have been diagnosed with cancer.

SuCCCeS will also train health care providers to promote colon cancer screening, to reduce patient barriers to screening, and to enhance potential resources for their patients, such as insurance coverage options for colonoscopies.

Dr. Shokar’s ultimate goal is not only to have more adults screened, but also to educate West Texans of all ethnic backgrounds about the importance of regular screening for early diagnosis — when colon cancer is most curable.

Over the course of the three-year grant, SuCCCeS is expected to provide 11,100 screening and diagnostic tests, 16,000 educational services, and 600 professional education services.

Dr. Shokar already has a strong history of leading successful cancer prevention programs. This is her sixth award from CPRIT as a principal investigator. Thus far, her grants have brought $15 million to the El Paso community for cancer prevention and early detection services and research.

SuCCCeS coalition members include nine hospitals, 26 clinics, and 150 community partners.

TTUHSC El Paso Receives $1.5 Million to Prevent Cervical Cancer in West Texas

Navkiran Shokar, M.A., M.P.H, M.D., has received nearly $1.5 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in West Texas.

“Hispanic women in our region have a 30 percent higher risk of dying from cervical cancer,” says Dr. Shokar, a physician and professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). “They also have a higher incidence of cervical cancer and are typically diagnosed at later stages.”

De Casa en Casa’s reach is possible thanks to a community-wide partnership that consists of over 150 organizations, including TTUHSC El Paso, the West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Texas Department of State Health Services, and multiple food pantries and community centers across the region. Photo by Tommie Morelos / TTUHSC El Paso.
De Casa en Casa’s reach is possible thanks to a community-wide partnership that consists of over 150 organizations. Photo by Tommie Morelos / TTUHSC El Paso.

Dr. Shokar will use the grant to expand De Casa en Casa, a program that helps uninsured or underinsured Latinas access free cervical cancer screenings, or pap smears. Since its establishment in 2013, De Casa En Casa has provided more than 1,500 pap smears to women in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties.

The new CPRIT funds will help the program expand its service area to 105 additional rural U.S.-Mexico border counties in Texas, stretching from as far away as Big Bend country to the Panhandle plains. Cervical cancer test rates in the region lag far behind the national average of 82 percent; only 63 to 71 percent of qualifying residents in these counties have been screened.

“This area we’ve targeted has a population of about 2.8 million,” says Dr. Shokar. “The region has high rates of poverty, low education, and low rates of health care coverage — making it the ideal location for health education and free diagnostic screenings to save more lives.”

Dr. Shokar and her team will begin the effort by organizing a convoy to visit a 19-county area between now and December. The TTUHSC El Paso team will offer cervical cancer prevention education, including a bilingual educational video, and free cervical cancer screenings to

Dr. Shokar will use the grant to expand De Casa en Casa, a program that helps uninsured or underinsured Latinas access free cervical cancer screenings, or pap smears. Photo by Tommie Morelos / TTUHSC El Paso
Dr. Shokar will use the grant to expand De Casa en Casa, a program that helps uninsured or underinsured Latinas access free cervical cancer screenings, or pap smears. Photo by Tommie Morelos / TTUHSC El Paso

qualifying residents. During the visit, the team will also provide training for local nurses and community health workers to increase awareness of cervical cancer, its symptoms, and common barriers that women in these communities face to get access to cancer screening and care.

Dr. Shokar’s ultimate goal is not only to have more women screened, but also to educate Hispanics about the importance of regular pap smears for early diagnosis — when cervical cancer is most curable — and thus, saving more lives.

De Casa en Casa’s reach is possible thanks to a community-wide partnership that consists of over 150 organizations, including TTUHSC El Paso, the West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Texas Department of State Health Services, and multiple food pantries and community centers across the region.

This is Dr. Shokar’s fifth award from CPRIT as a principal investigator. Her grants have brought nearly $8 million to the El Paso community for cancer prevention and early detection services.

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