Evolution of the “Drivers” of Translational Cancer Epidemiology: Analysis of Funded Grants and the Literature
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Evolution of the “Drivers” of Translational Cancer Epidemiology: Analysis of Funded Grants and the Literature

  • Published Date:

    Mar 11 2015

  • Source:
    Am J Epidemiol. 181(7):451-458.
  • Language:
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  • Alternative Title:
    Am J Epidemiol
  • Description:
    Concurrently with a workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, we identified key "drivers" for accelerating cancer epidemiology across the translational research continuum in the 21st century: emerging technologies, a multilevel approach, knowledge integration, and team science. To map the evolution of these "drivers" and translational phases (T0-T4) in the past decade, we analyzed cancer epidemiology grants funded by the National Cancer Institute and published literature for 2000, 2005, and 2010. For each year, we evaluated the aims of all new/competing grants and abstracts of randomly selected PubMed articles. Compared with grants based on a single institution, consortium-based grants were more likely to incorporate contemporary technologies (P = 0.012), engage in multilevel analyses (P = 0.010), and incorporate elements of knowledge integration (P = 0.036). Approximately 74% of analyzed grants and publications involved discovery (T0) or characterization (T1) research, suggesting a need for more translational (T2-T4) research. Our evaluation indicated limited research in 1) a multilevel approach that incorporates molecular, individual, social, and environmental determinants and 2) knowledge integration that evaluates the robustness of scientific evidence. Cancer epidemiology is at the cusp of a paradigm shift, and the field will need to accelerate the pace of translating scientific discoveries in order to impart population health benefits. While multi-institutional and technology-driven collaboration is happening, concerted efforts to incorporate other key elements are warranted for the discipline to meet future challenges.
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