Spring 2017 Newsletter
Foreword By Michele Bloch, Chief of the Tobacco Control Research Branch
The Tobacco Control Research Branch began 2017 with several accomplishments. First, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) published Monograph 21: The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control.
This landmark report, prepared by more than 60 authors and peer-reviewed by an additional 70 experts, provides the first comprehensive review of the economics of global tobacco control efforts since the 2003 adoption and 2005 entry into force of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The monograph covers a broad range of topics and includes extensive new evidence from low- and middle-income countries.
Importantly, the document concludes that evidence-based tobacco control interventions make sense from an economic as well as a public health standpoint and that government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. We invite you to review the findings of this monograph and encourage you to share it with colleagues.
Supporting cutting-edge research and disseminating evidence-based findings to prevent, treat, and control tobacco use is central to our branch’s mission. We recently released a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to advance tobacco control science and practice. Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle Income Countries, (PAR-17-087/PAR-17-086) focuses on the development and evaluation of tobacco cessation interventions tailored to HIV positive populations, including populations with co-morbidities such as tuberculosis, in low-resource settings. A webinar that provides an overview and helpful guidance on the FOA is now available.
We look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming conferences such as the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Please look for our staff there, or reach out to us with your questions or ideas. We look forward to hearing from you!
Michele Bloch on behalf of the Tobacco Control Research Branch
We are pleased to announce several new BRP-initiated and BRP-supported funding opportunities. Please visit the Behavioral Research Grants page or the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) Funding Opportunities page for a complete listing.
Funding Opportunity Announcements
Perception and Cognition Research to Inform Cancer Image Interpretation
Oral Anticancer Agents: Utilization, Adherence, and Health Care Delivery
Target Assessment, Engagement and Data Replicability to Improve Substance Use Disorders Treatment Outcomes
Integrative Research on Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction
Multi-Site Studies for System-Level Implementation of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Services
Tobacco Use and HIV in Low and Middle Income Countries
For cancer-related FOA questions:
Richard P. Moser
For general FOA questions:
NCI has awarded five Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract awards for Topic 343: An Electronic Platform for Cognitive Assessment in Cancer Patients. This topic solicited proposals to develop electronic platforms that provide brief, remotely administered patient assessments and scoring of cognitive processes affected by cancer and cancer treatment. Developing such platforms would substantially improve our ability to measure changes in cognitive function relating to cancer and cancer treatment, facilitate research on the causes of cognitive complaints in cancer survivors, and enable clinicians to track changes in their patients’ abilities. Awardees are:
- Lindsay V. Allen, Ph.D. Creare LLC, Neuropsychological Assessment System for Cancer Patients
- Seth Elkin-Frankston, Ph.D., Charles River Analytics, Cognitive Assessment and Monitoring Platform for Integrative Research (CAMPFIRE)
- Lisa Scott Holt, Ph.D., Intelligent Automation Inc., MIND CAP: Monitoring for cognitive Impairment and Dysfunction in Cancer Patients
- Duane Jung, B.S., Enformia Inc., Platform for Neurocognitive Evaluation and Monitoring
- Joan Severson, M.A., Digital Artefacts LLC, Cancer Patient Cognitive Assessment Platform
This initiative advances the Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch mission of fostering research on new approaches to assess cognitive changes that often accompany cancer and cancer treatment.
For more information about Topic 343, contact Todd Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-276-6963.
NCI Tobacco Control Monograph 21: The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control
The Tobacco Control Research Branch, recently released The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control, the latest in the series of NCI tobacco control monographs. The monograph was produced in collaboration with the World Health Organization, under the scientific leadership of Frank J. Chaloupka, Ph.D., Geoffrey T. Fong, Ph.D., and Ayda Aysun Yürekli, Ph.D. The research summarized in the volume can help direct future research and inform tobacco prevention and control policies in countries around the world. Tobacco Control Research Branch Program Director Mark Parascandola expands on the monograph’s key findings in an interview in the NCI Cancer Currents Blog. Read more here: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2017/tobacco-global-economic-burden
Tobacco Use Among U.S. Adults and Youth in 2013-14
Tobacco Control Research Branch Program Director Annette Kaufman and colleagues recently published a paper on the prevalence estimates for use of 12 types of tobacco products among adults and youth in the U.S. Using data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, they determined that approximately 28 percent of U.S. adults were current users of at least one type of tobacco product, and approximately 9 percent of youth had used a tobacco product in the previous 30 days. Approximately 40 percent of tobacco users used multiple tobacco products, with cigarettes plus e-cigarettes being the most common combination. Young adults ages 18 to 24, male adults and youth, racial minorities, and sexual minorities generally had higher tobacco use than their counterparts.
Reference: Kasza, K.A., Ambrose, B.K., Conway, K.P., Borek, N., Taylor, K., Goniewicz, M.L., Cummings, K.M., Sharma, E., Pearson, J.L., Green, V.R., Kaufman, A.R., Bansal-Travers, M., Travers, M.J., Kwan, J., Tworek, C., Cheng, Y.C., Yang, L, Pharris-Ciurej, N, van Bemmel, D.M., Backinger, C.L., Compton, W.M., Hyland, A.J. Tobacco-Product Use by Adults and Youths in the United States in 2013 and 2014. (2017) New England Journal of Medicine 376(4):342-353. doi: 10.1056/NEJMsa1607538.
Analysis of User-Reported Data to Enhance SmokefreeTXT
Tobacco Control Research Branch Program Directors Erik Augustson, Yvonne Hunt, and colleagues analyzed user data from the NCI’s SmokefreeTXT text message-based smoking cessation intervention to gain better insight into subscriber engagement and their cessation rates. The study found that over half of all subscribers who initiated treatment (i.e., set a quit date and received at least one day of messages) went on to complete the entire 42-day treatment program. The end-of-treatment point prevalence abstinence for subscribers who completed the full treatment program was 12.9 percent. The end-of-treatment point prevalence abstinence for subscribers who initiated treatment but opted out before the end of the program was 7.2 percent. Most subscribers who opted out did so in the first two weeks of the program, mirroring patterns seen in other quit programs. The results of this analysis have been used to modify the intervention, and have sparked further research into factors associated with smokers who are at higher risk to drop out from the program.
Reference: Cole-Lewis, H., Augustson, E., Sanders, A., Schwarz, M., Geng, Y., Coa, K., Hunt, Y. Analysing user-reported data for enhancement of SmokefreeTXT: a national text messaging smoking cessation intervention. (2016) Tobacco Control. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-052945. [Epub ahead of print]
E-Cigarette Exposure Promotes Normalization of Cigarette Smoking
Tobacco Control Research Branch Program Director Rachel Grana Mayne and colleagues analyzed data from a survey of about 68,000 Florida middle and high school students to examine associations between exposure to e-cigarette marketing, use of e-cigarettes, acceptance of tobacco cigarette smoking and susceptibility to smoking among teens who never smoked cigarettes. They found that among these never-smoking adolescents, those who had used e-cigarettes, were exposed to e-cigarette advertising, and who lived with e-cigarette users reported greater acceptance of adult smoking and greater susceptibility to cigarette smoking.
Reference: Choi, K., Grana R., Bernat D. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Acceptability of Adult Cigarette Smoking Among Florida Youth: Renormalization of Smoking? (2017) J Adolesc Health doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.12.001 (e-pub ahead of print)
E-Cigarettes Leading More Kids to Smoke
A recent NIH Director’s Blog featured the work of Tobacco Control Research Branch grantee Stanton Glantz on e-cigarettes among youth. Although supporters of e-cigarettes tout “vaping” as an alternative that helps steer youngsters away from traditional cigarettes, Glantz and colleagues found that, in fact, the popularity of e-cigarettes has led more kids—not fewer—to get hooked on nicotine.
Teens Practice “Dripping” as Alternative to Traditional E-Cigarette Use
The Tobacco Control Research Branch funded the first systematic evaluation to assess prevalence rates of youth using e-cigarettes for “dripping,” a practice in which the user applies a few drops of the liquid onto the e-cigarette’s heating coils between puffs. Krishnan-Sarin and colleagues assessed surveys of students from eight Connecticut high schools and found that 25 percent of high school youth who reported using e-cigarettes practiced “dripping.” Their primary reasons included thicker vapor clouds, better flavor, and strong throat hit. Dripping was most frequent among males, whites, multiple tobacco product users, and people with greater past-month e-cigarette use frequency.
Reference: Krishnan-Sarin, S., Morean, M., Kong, G., Bold, K.W., Camenga, D.R., Cavallo, D.A., Simon, P., Wu, R. E-Cigarettes and "Dripping" Among High-School Youth. (2017) Pediatrics doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3224. [Epub ahead of print]
Smokers and Ex-Smokers Who Consume Fruits and Vegetables Less Likely to Develop COPD
A DCCPS-funded study discovered yet another reason to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, particularly among smokers and ex-smokers. Over a period of approximately 3 years, Joanna Kaluza and colleagues followed more than 40,000 Swedish men with no history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the start of the study in order to identify factors which might mitigate the development of COPD. When they compared those smokers and ex-smokers with the lowest level of reported average daily intake of fruits and vegetables to those with higher levels, they found each additional average daily fruit or vegetable serving decreased their risk of COPD by between 4 and 8 percent.
Reference: Kaluza, J., Larsson, S.C., Orsini, N., Linden, A., Wolk, A. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of COPD: a prospective cohort study of men. (2017) Thorax. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015-207851. [Epub ahead of print]
Kindness when Communicating Can Affect Health
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch Grantee Janice Kiecolt-Glaser was recently quoted in an article in NIH News in Health, Do Social Ties Affect Our Health? Exploring the Biology of Relationships, about the association between communication and biological responses. One aspect of Kiecolt-Glaser’s research focuses on how stress and depression alter metabolic responses to meals. A longitudinal study in her lab is now addressing how these metabolic responses impact coronary artery calcification and weight change in breast cancer survivors.
Reference: NIH News in Health Do Social Ties Affect Our Health? February 2017.
Grant Citation: Biobehavioral Influences on Cancer: Perspectives from Psychoneuroimmunology. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ohio State University, K05CA172296.
Impact of Sleep on Survival of Cancer Patients
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch grantees Jennifer Steele and Michael Antoni, along with NCI grantee Frank Penedo and colleagues analyzed data from 292 advanced cancer patients to assess the type and rates of sleep problems in this population and their association with survival. They discovered a U-shaped relationship with mortality in advanced cancer patients, with both short and long sleep duration associated with increased mortality. They also found that short sleep duration was associated with increased risk of depression.
Reference: Collins, K.P., Geller, D.A., Antoni, M., Donnell, D.M.S., Tsung, A., Marsh, J.W., Burke, L., Penedo, F., Terhorst, L., Kamarck, T.W., Greene, A., Buysse, D.J., Steel, J.L. Sleep duration is associated with survival in advanced cancer patients (2017). Sleep Medicine http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2016.06.041
Grant Citation: Biobehavioral Pathways Linking Stress and Cancer Progression. Jennifer Steel, University of Pittsburgh, R01CA176809.
Five Factors That Guide Attention in Visual Search
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch Program Director Todd Horowitz and co-author Jeremy Wolfe discuss the five factors that guide individuals’ attention in visual search: bottom-up salience; top-down feature guidance; scene structure and meaning; the previous history of search over timescales; and the relative value of the targets and distractors. An understanding of these factors and their impact on behavior can help improve the accuracy and efficiency of a variety of search tasks ranging from security screening to medical image perception.
Reference: Wolfe, J.M., Horowitz, T.S. Five factors that guide attention in visual search (2017) Nature Human Behaviour doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0058.
Can Communication Coaching Improve End-of-Life Discussions Between Patients with Advanced Cancer and their Doctors?
A study from grantees funded by the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch determined that a combined patient-oncologist training intervention improved communication in advanced cancer. Patients and their caregivers received an individualized communication coaching session before their visits while oncologists received individualized communication training. Compared with controls, more than twice as many intervention-group patients and caregivers brought up topics of concern during their office visits, and they were nearly three times more likely to ask about prognosis.
Reference: Rodenbach, R.A., Brandes, K., Fiscella, K., Kravitz, R.L., Butow, P.N., Walczak, A., Duberstein, P.R., Sullivan, P., Hoh, B., Xing, G., Plumb, S., Epstein, R.M. Promoting End-of-Life Discussions in Advanced Cancer: Effects of Patient Coaching and Question Prompt Lists (2017) Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.68.5651. [Epub ahead of print]
Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch Grantee Brian Primack and colleagues surveyed 1,787 U.S. adults aged 19-32 years about their time and frequency using 11 popular social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to determine any associations between social media use and social isolation. They found that the top users of social media (those who spent more than two hours each day on social media apps) were twice as likely to feel more socially isolated than those with limited use (30 minutes or less on social media apps each day). Similarly, young adults who visited the apps most frequently were three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who rarely used the apps.
Reference: Primack, B.A., Shensa, A., Sidani, J.E., Whaite, E.O., Lin, L.Y., Rosen, D., Colditz, J.B., Radovic, A., Miller, E. Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S. Am J Prev Med. (2017) doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.010. [Epub ahead of print]
Fiber-Rich Diets May Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk
A DCCPS-funded study by Raaj S. Mehta and colleagues found that a diet rich in whole grains and dietary fiber may have a protective effect against certain colorectal cancer subtypes linked to Fusobacterium nucleatum, a bacterium found in the intestine. Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professional Follow-up Study, the researchers analyzed the incidence of this cancer subtype and found that people who had diets rich in whole grains and fiber had a lower risk of developing this cancer subtype compared to those who had diets rich in red and processed meats, refined grains, and desserts.
Reference: Mehta, R.S., Nishihara, R., Cao, Y., Song, M., Mima, K., Qian, Z.R., Nowak, J.A., Kosumi, K., Hamada, T., Masugi, Y., Bullman, S., Drew, D.A., Kostic, A.D., Fung, T.T., Garrett, W.S., Huttenhower, C., Wu, K.0, Meyerhardt, J.A., Zhang, X., Willett, W.C., Giovannucci, E.L., Fuchs, C.S., Chan, A.T., Ogino, S. Association of Dietary Patterns With Risk of Colorectal Cancer Subtypes Classified by Fusobacterium Nucleatum in Tumor Tissue . (2017) JAMA Onc doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.6374. [Epub ahead of print]
Use of Health Information Technologies Among U.S. Rural Residents Compared to Urban Residents
Members of our Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch co-authored a study examining differences in access to and use of health information technologies (HIT) between U.S. rural and urban residents. Using data from the NCI’s Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) program, researchers assessed the adoption of HIT tools among more than 33,000 respondents. The data revealed that rural participants were less likely to report regular access to internet. Although rural respondents were equally likely to report that their health care providers maintained electronic health records as their urban counterparts, rural respondents were less likely to manage personal health information online and email their health care providers.
References: Greenberg, A.J., Haney, D., Blake, K.D., Moser, R.P., Hesse, B.W. Differences in Access to and Use of Electronic Personal Health Information Between Rural and Urban Residents in the United States (2017) J Rural Health doi: 10.1111/jrh.12228. [Epub ahead of print].
Approaches to Enhance Team-Based Oncology Care - Special Issue in the Journal of Oncology Practice
The November Issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice features 19 original manuscripts and four editorials that address ways to enhance team-based oncology care. The series is the culmination of a project launched in 2014 by NCI and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) . Manuscripts were written by interdisciplinary groups of authors that included clinicians, researchers, and patient advocates. The manuscripts discuss both real and hypothetical case studies, models of care, and the value of teams in care. For more information, visit the NCI Health Care Delivery Research Program’s healthcare teams web page.
Behavioral Science in Skin Cancer Achieves a High Funding Success Rate, but Research Gaps Exist
Program Director Frank Perna and Health Behaviors Research Branch staff conducted a portfolio analysis of NIH grants from 2000 to 2014 targeting skin cancer-related behaviors and relevant outcomes. Of the 112 submitted applications, 35.7 percent were funded, comparing favorably to the overall NIH grant success rate. However, gaps remained in behavioral intervention research to address all points of the skin cancer control continuum, as well as use of theory, technology, and changes to the built environment to improve interventions. Behavioral science has made significant strides in changing skin cancer prevention behavior, but the next generation of intervention research must aim to better connect behavior change to clinically important outcomes.
Reference: Perna, F.M., Dwyer, L.A., Tesauro, G., Taber, J.M., Norton, W.E., Hartman, A.M. Geller, A.C. Research on Skin Cancer-Related Behaviors and Outcomes in the NIH Grant Portfolio, 2000-2014: Skin Cancer Intervention Across the Cancer Control Continuum (SCI-3C). (2017) JAMA Dermatol doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.6216. [Epub ahead of print]
BRP Career Opportunities
All positions listed are based in Rockville, Maryland, at NCI’s Shady Grove Campus. Please visit the Career and Training page to learn more.
Program Director, Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Science Branch (BBPSB): The position provides researchers the opportunity to develop research and funding initiatives, cultivate a diverse portfolio of grant-supported research, lead and participate in transdisciplinary research collaborations, and develop national and international scientific programming. Candidates must have a doctoral or medical degree and specialized research, knowledge, and expertise in one or more of the following areas:
- Cancer-related animal models of human behavior and social processes
- Cancer-related neuroscience
- Survivorship-related basic behavioral, biobehavioral and psychological processes
Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a letter of interest, CV, and two representative publications immediately to Paige Green, Ph.D., M.P.H., BBPSB Chief at: email@example.com. Read the position description »
Cancer Research Training Award Fellow, Tobacco Control Research Branch (TCRB):The program is currently recruiting a full-time fellow to be part of a multidisciplinary team to plan and implement Smokefree.gov activities and research. Smokefree.gov’s multiplatform (online, app, social media) program provides smokers with evidence-based cessation support for their immediate and long-term needs. Interested candidates are encouraged to send application materials to Ms. Meredith Grady. Read the position description here »
Cancer Research Training Award Fellow, Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Research Branch (BBPSB): The program invites applications from qualified candidates for a full-time post-baccalaureate fellowship position to support the advancement of research in biobehavioral mechanisms and psychological processes to reduce cancer risk and improve outcomes. Interested candidates are encouraged to send application materials to Ms. Donna Hopkins. Read the position description here »
BRP Welcomes Two Staff Members and a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow
Carolyn Reyes-Guzman, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Program Director and Epidemiologist in the Tobacco Control Research Branch. Her research interests include epidemiology of low-dose and infrequent cigarette smokers, along with their use of other tobacco products and substances. Read Carolyn’s biography.
Mimi Lising, M.P.H., joined the BRP’s Office of the Associate Director and manages communication activities for the four branches within the program. Read Mimi’s biography.
Jenn Nguyen, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a is a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow in the Health Behaviors Research Branch. Her research focuses on the intersection of health/eHealth literacy and cancer prevention and screening. Read Jenn’s biography.
- In December, 2016, Susan Czajkowski and Brad Hesse received the Meritorious Research Service Citation from the American Psychological Association. This commendation recognizes researchers who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their service as employees of the federal government or other organizations.
- Cancer Prevention Fellow Minal Patel was selected for the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women Scientists in Cancer Research.
- The recently published book, Oncology Informatics: Using Health Information Technology to Improve Processes and Outcomes in Cancer , won the Publishers’ “Prose Award” for best text in Clinical Medicine. It was edited by Brad Hesse, David Ahern and Ellen Beckjord. The PROSE Award annually recognizes the best in professional and scholarly publishing in books, journals, and electronic content in 53 categories.
Resources, Research Tools, and Events
NCCOR Launches the Measures Registry User Guides
The National Collaborative Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) has just launched four Measures Registry User Guides focused on Individual Diet, Food Environment, Individual Physical Activity, and Physical Activity Environment. Written and reviewed by teams of leading experts, these guides help researchers and practitioners find and use childhood obesity measures. Register for a two-part Connect & Explore Webinar Series on the Measures Registry User Guides on March 29 and April 12. https://connectexplore.eventbrite.com
ASA24 for Researchers and Clinicians
The Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool is a free, web-based software tool developed by the NCI. The tool enables automated and self-administered 24-hour dietary recalls and food records (food diaries). The system can be used by researchers for epidemiologic, intervention-based, behavioral, or clinical research. Clinicians also can use the system for diet assessment and nutrition counseling. For more information, go to epi.grants.cancer.gov/asa24.
HINTS-FDA Data Outreach Toolkit
If you haven’t already begun exploring it, check out the latest HINTS-FDA data now available for download. HINTS data provide an excellent resource for graduate students and researchers across all disciplines, including public health, health informatics, and communication. Spread the word about this free resource with an easy-to-use outreach toolkit of resources for use in social media, newsletters, or email.
NCTN/NCORP Data Archive: Expanding Access to Clinical Trial Data
In keeping with efforts to make cancer research data more available and accessible, NCI recently launched the ‘National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN)/NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Data Archive,’ a centralized, controlled-access database with patient-level data from phase III clinical trials. For more background on the project, read the Cancer Currents Blog: https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2017/nctn-ncorp-data-archive
- BRP Staff to Present at Upcoming Society of Behavioral Medicine Meeting
Several members of the BRP leadership and staff, including William Klein, Susan Czajkowski, and Brad Hesse, will present at the 38th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, , March 29 – April 1, 2017, in San Diego, California. Check the program schedule for presentations at symposia, seminars, roundtable discussions, oral and poster presentations, and meetings of special interest groups, among others.
- Meet the Experts at AACR
Health Behaviors Research Branch Chief Susan Czajkowski, and Program Director Tanya Agurs-Collins will join other NCI staff at a Meet-the-Experts session at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting to be held April 1-5, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Tobacco Control Research Branch Program Director Stephanie Land also will give a presentation on lung cancer screening. Stop by the NCI booth to pick up materials and network with colleagues.