Lewis Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., awarded first NCI SPORE grant in U.S. targeting hepatobiliary cancer

Lewis Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (I ’95, GI ’98), Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, was awarded an NCI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in hepatobiliary cancer of $11.5 million through August 2023.┬áThis is the first NCI SPORE grant in the nation targeting hepatobiliary cancer.

With co-PI Mark McNiven, Ph.D. (GI ’89), Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dr. Roberts will focus on discoveries and translating them into clinical application for the benefit of individuals with liver cancer and bile duct cancer.

  • Fewer than 18% of patients diagnosed with liver or bile duct cancer survive five years or more.
  • Liver and bile duct cancers account for only 2.4% of all new cancer cases annually but represent 5% of all cancer deaths.
  • Ethnic minorities are burdened with liver and bile duct cancer at significantly higher rates than whites.
  • The annual average number of new cases per 100,000 for whites is 12.2. The rates for other groups are substantially higher: blacks is 17.3, Native Americans 18.5, Hispanics 19.8, and Asian/Pacific Islands 20.2.

In addition to his broad work in liver cancer, Dr. Roberts addresses health disparities in Somali immigrants.

Dr. Roberts is a professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. McNiven is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

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