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Dr. Paulo Pinheiro Awarded Florida DOH Grant to Study Cancer Disparities in Childhood, Adolescence and Young Adults 

The Florida Department of Health awarded Paulo Pinheiro, M.S., M.D., Ph.D., research associate professor with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences, a grant to identify incidence differences and survival disparities across diverse races and ethnicities in childhood, adolescent, and young adult populations in Florida. The resulting incidence rates of racial-ethnic groups with the most common cancers in these populations will be one of the first generated in the U.S., allowing for investigators to study survival disparities according to previously unexplored groups.    

“Our proposed study will provide a much needed and better understanding of the epidemiology of childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers and will identify priority groups for targeted etiologic, prognostic, or genetic research,” said Dr. Pinheiro. “We will study nearly 25,000 childhood cancer cases that occurred between 2000 and 2018.”  

Among Hispanics, the study will focus on Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, South Americans, Central Americans, and Dominicans, and among non-Hispanic Blacks, it will focus on African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans that are of West Indian and Haitian descent.  

The study will investigate the association of prenatal factors, ethnicities, and races with the most common early childhood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and childhood brain tumors.  

“Racial and ethnic disparities are prominent and pervasive throughout pediatric oncology,” said Dr. Pinheiro. “The incidence of childhood cancer is increasing about 1 percent per year, and this increase disproportionately burdens minority children. Overall survival for pediatric cancer is also poorer for Black and Hispanic children compared to Whites. Despite improvements in childhood cancer survival across all races and ethnicities, advancements have not equally benefited minority children. In some pediatric cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, survival disparities have even widened over time.”  

Collaborators of this study will include clinicians and scientists with the Miller School of Medicine, including Dr. Julio Barredo, Dr. Deuwkoo Kwon, Dr. Jamie Shoag, and Dr. James Slayton.  

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on June 30, 2021