Abramson Cancer Center Population Science Research Seminar Series

The Population Science Research Seminar Series is designed to offer state-of-the-art knowledge on advances in oncological research and care, including new clinical and laboratory investigations, techniques, and practices, as well as to facilitate new initiatives in translational and clinical research in oncology at Penn Medicine. The seminars are held monthly at various locations at Penn.

Presented by the Abramson Cancer Center, this interdisciplinary seminar series provides a venue for basic-science and clinical faculty to hear about cutting-edge work in all areas of cancer. The series features invited speakers on various relevant subjects, and Penn Medicine faculty with expertise in selected topics related to cancer. Speakers in our series represent the major research programs at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine.

The series is sponsored by the Abramson Cancer Center, Penn Medicine, Community Engagement and Research Core, ITMAT and the UPenn Prevention Research Center.

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Speakers, dates, and locations for 2019-2020 coming soon!

PRC Director Karen Glanz Tackles the Stigma Associated With Prostate Cancer

kglanz-pink-jacket-croppedheadshot-aspph-conferenceUPenn PRC Director and Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor Karen Glanz, PhD, is tackling the stigma associated with prostate cancer in a new project with collaborator Neha Vapiwala, MD, Penn associate professor of radiation oncology.  Building on the 2015 UPenn PRC Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy conference, Glanz and Vapiwala seek to empower prostate cancer patients with information and support that will help them with decision making about their medical and treatment choices. “The conference was a first venture of its kind for us,” Glanz says. “Out of that came some clear needs, and some of them really converged with what Neha had noticed in her clinic.”

The project, funded in part by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, was inspired by a health-conscious, African-American, 40-something patient of Vapiwala’s who was unaware a man his age could get prostate cancer.  The researchers envision a train-the-trainer type program. Phase one, in process, is four focus groups composed of African Americans and Latinos, two high-risk populations. Part two will include creating mini-curricula and working with community organizations to select the trainers.  Glanz and Vapiwala believe their approach may be applicable to other diseases. “We’re using prostate cancer as a model,” Vapiwala says. “You could insert cervical cancer, diabetes, or any number of health conditions associated with stigma, fear, and mistrust.”

Read more about the project in Penn Current.


New Research on Smokers’ Behaviors: Two Studies Led by PRC Researcher Andrew Strasser

Andrew Strasser

PRC Researcher Andrew Strasser, PhD, recently published two studies about the behaviors of smokers which show that low-nicotine cigarettes may not significantly change smokers’ habits and that smokers tend to ignore warning label boxes in tobacco advertisements.

In a randomized clinical trial where some smokers were given RNC (reduced nicotine content) cigarettes, those smokers used more cigarettes and had a higher smoke exposure on a daily basis.  The findings in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention suggest that RNC use does not necessarily reduce smoking behaviors or biomarkers, althought the lowest RNC level tested may reduce harm exposure.

A study utilizing eye-tracking technology showed that the majority of smokers do not look at the warning label box found in tobacco advertisements, nullifying the value of warning boxes for informing smokers about tobacco risk. When risk information was included in the body of the advertisement, smokers were more likely to look at and retain information about smoking risk. The findings in Drug and Alcohol Dependence support reevaluation of how risk warnings are presented.

“The Tobacco Control Act allows the FDA to regulate tobacco product marketing and advertising so that people are not mislead about harm; and, the FDA can also set standards on cigarette constituent levels, including nicotine, if scientific evidence supports it will benefit public health,” said Strasser. “While these studies are scientifically quite different, their results may collectively inform future policy and law by regulating the ways RNCs can be marketed, as well as identifying optimal nicotine levels in cigarettes to reduce exposure to the dangerous substances they contain.”  The researchers suggest these results could support regulation for how tobacco products are marketed.






Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy at the University of Pennsylvania , Nov 13, 2015

Under the direction of Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, and Tim Rebbeck, PhD, the UPenn PRC, the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network, and the Penn Center for Excellence in Prostate Cancer Disparities presented the Prostate Cancer Evidence Academy at the University of Pennsylvania. Nearly 100 attendees, including researchers, policy makers, survivors, and advocates, as well as physicians and other health care-providers, gathered for a comprehensive symposium on prostate cancer prevention, control, awareness, and education.


Dr. Glanz, Director of the UPenn PRC, introduced the plenary sessions and keynote.

PCEA-11-15-Linda Jacobs Speaking
Linda Jacobs, PhD, RN, presented at a Survivorship/Advocacy session on the Medical and Psychosocial Effects of Cancer Treatment in Survivors. Dr. Jacobs discussed the shift in prostate cancer research from cure to long-term survivorship and long-term vs. late effects of treatment. She is a Co-Investigator for UPenn PRC SIP 15-001 Self-Management Education for Childhood Cancer Survivors.
A panel discussion, “Research to Policy: Improving Prostate Cancer Outcomes,” was moderated by Neha Vapiwala, MD, University of Pennsylvania, and included Lorelei Mucci, ScD, MPH, Epidemiology, Christopher Saigal, MD, Medical Decision Making, Justin Bekelman, MD, Research and Practice, and Michael Scott, Activism and Education.


Christopher J. Logothetis, MD, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

“Transitioning from a Prognostic to a Predictive Classification of Prostate Cancer”


Lorelei Mucci, ScD,MPH, Harvard, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

“Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression”