NCI-CRUK Sandpit Workshops

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Cancer Research U.K. (CRUK) have partnered to convene “Sandpit” workshops (i.e., ideas labs) on specific topics of interest. During these intensive, invitation-only residential workshops, participants have an opportunity to:

  • Network and form collaborations spanning different research areas, organizations, and nations
  • Work in multidisciplinary teams to generate innovative project ideas
  • Receive guidance on applying for Cancer Research U.K. seed funding to test the feasibility of their ideas

Knowledge Integration Across Health Domains, Professions, and Nations to Advance Cancer

April 24-26, 2017

The purpose of this Sandpit workshop was to facilitate the development of research ideas that cut across behavioral domains, professional sectors, and geographic boundaries to cultivate new insights across five key cancer-related health behaviors: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, dietary behavior, physical activity, and UV exposure.

Projects included the following:

  • Advancing Cancer Prevention Pricing Interventions across the UK and US: Optimizing Message Framing seeks to explore the public’s acceptance of different tax and non-tax pricing interventions for cancer risk behaviors and to investigate whether acceptance of different pricing policies differs based on 1) the way in which the policy is framed, and 2) the behavior the policy targets (Rachel Carey, David Conway, Joseph Lee, Elisa Trucco).
  • Changing How People Think and Feel about Cancer Prevention Behaviors: Translating Neuroscience into Population Health aims to explore whether affective associations and temporal discounting have a synergistic effect on food choice in obese individuals in order to better understand the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie diet behavior (Elisa Trucco, Laura Martin, Sara Levens, Nina Cooperman, Austin Baldwin, Noreen Mdege, Angelos Kassianos).
  • Incentivized smoking cessation for tobacco treatment-resistant diabetics seeks to determine whether contingency management (the provision of tangible rewards to reinforce positive behaviors) can be effective in promoting smoking cessation among diabetic patients who have been unable to quit smoking previously (Sydney Martinez, Fiona Mitchell, Sammy Quaife).
  • Project HATCH – Staying Healthy After Childbirth aims to develop an intervention to support sustained smoking abstinence and inter-related cancer-prevention behaviors (breast feeding and physical activity) among postpartum women who stopped smoking during pregnancy (Caitlin Notley, Angelos Kassianos, Dian Nostikasari, Claire Spears, Allison Kurti, Jamie Payton).
  • RESET Sleep: Regulating Exercise, Substance Use, and Eating through Sleep seeks to explore mediators of the association between sleep and other cancer-related behaviors (i.e., alcohol consumption, tobacco use, diet, and physical activity), and to investigate the specific components of sleep (i.e., timing, duration, and quality) that affect cancer risk (Jennifer Taber, Beth Smith, Tapio Paljarvi, Brinda Rana, Lisa Cadmus-Bertram, Darren Mays).

Implementing Digital Health Interventions for Cancer Prevention

October 28-31, 2018

The purpose of this Sandpit workshop was to generate new insights on the contextual factors (e.g., social, cultural, and organizational) that influence the implementation and uptake of digital health interventions for cancer prevention, with the ultimate goal of increasing the reach, adoption, and maintained use of effective digital health tools.

Projects included the following:

  • E-MUte proposes to develop a valid and reliable algorithm to identify misinformation about e-cigarettes viewed by adult smokers on social media, identify the mechanism of effects of misinformation exposure on behavior, and develop intervention strategies based on these findings (Andy Tan, Caroline Wright, Jennifer Dahne, Jiang Bian, Olga Elizarova).
  • Free Time for Wellness (FT4W) proposes to improve social cohesion and promote wellness activities through the formation of wellness groups of proximally located low-income mothers using an existing neighborhood-based social networking platform (Kajal Gokal, Jessica Watterson, Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Lauren Houghton, Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, Cheryl Jones).
  • Project OptiMine aims to use EHR systems to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from cancer prevention interventions and then use digital communication strategies to reach out to them and refer them to evidence-based programs (Lorien Abroms, Michael S. Amato, Sherine El-Toukhy, Zarnie Khadjesari, Henry Goodfellow, Alex Ramsey).
  • ShopSmarter proposes to utilize a newly developed browser extension that overlays a real-world online shopping website to test the effects on food purchases of 1) removing promotions on junk food or 2) removing product packaging images (Vyas Adhikari, Emma Boyland, Zoi Toumpakari, Courtney Parks).