Masonic Cancer Center scientist Julie Ross has won a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to lead a study of adults in Minnesota with a rare cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), according to the University of Minnesota.
The study of the syndrome, which can lead to acute myeloid leukemia, is the largest of its kind and aims to identify environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that may predispose a person to develop it.
Minnesota has one of the highest rates of the disease, which affects about 10,000 people per year in the United States, the university said. The disease, which often has a poor prognosis, is more common in men and affects mostly older people.
About 1,400 Minnesotans–half with the syndrome and half without–will be invited to participate in the five-year study. Ross’ research team includes investigators at the Minnesota Department of Health and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, as well as the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.
“Our goal is identify factors that will help us better understand MDS and why some people eventually develop acute myeloid leukemia,” said Ross, professor and director of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and member of the Masonic Cancer Center Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention and Prevention and Etiology research programs.