AACR Launches Collaborative Initiative to Address Cancer Health Disparities in the African-American Population

The 2020 initiative will facilitate the sequencing of cancer genomes from 2,020 African-American patients by the year 2020
PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) today announced the launch of a collaborative initiative known as “2020 by 2020”. The initiative will perform genomic sequencing of both tumor and normal tissue from 2,020 consented African-American cancer patients, and aggregate it with clinical data from the patients, by the year 2020, in order to improve our understanding of cancer outcomes in this medically underserved population.

To conduct 2020 by 2020, the AACR is partnering with:
“For all cancers combined, the death rate is 25 percent higher for African-Americans than it is for whites. While there are likely many causes for this, we need to make sure we have tumor DNA sequenced from all patients’ tumors in order to understand these differences in outcomes.” said Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, AACR president, and president of City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California. City of Hope is a member of ORIEN.

To reach the goal, the 2020 by 2020 partners will facilitate the development of an infrastructure for consenting African-American patients to the ORIEN Total Cancer Care Protocol at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta. MSM is already a member of ORIEN; the injection of support through the 2020 by 2020 initiative will substantially increase the number of patients that the center can accrue and will allow for the continued collection of material from cancer patients well beyond the year 2020. The data will also be added to the AACR Project GENIE registry, which has already made public 39,600 de-identified genomic records.

AACR Project GENIE and ORIEN will subsequently provide the genomic data generated through the 2020 by 2020 initiative to publicly accessible cancer genome registries for the benefit of academic and industry researchers interested in studying cancer and cancer outcomes in African-American populations. Such research has the potential to deepen our understanding of the causes of cancer health disparities in this population and expedite the development of strategies to address this daunting public health challenge.

“The AACR is extremely proud to lead this very important initiative to help eliminate cancer health disparities,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “I would like to thank our President, Dr. Caligiuri, for his vision in conceptualizing and spearheading this exciting initiative. We also thank our partners who are contributing vital support to the 2020 by 2020 initiative. By actively collaborating to create this unique, extensive, and freely available data set, they are leading a revolution in cancer health disparities research that holds the promise for significantly enhancing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in a medically underserved population.”