||2U01CA202979-06 Interpret this number
||Vanderbilt University Medical Center
||Southern Community Cohort Study
In this application we propose continuation of the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a landmark
investigation tracking the cancer and other disease experience of a cohort of nearly 86,000 adults age 40-79 at
cohort entry. By design, two-thirds of the cohort was selected to be African American, the remainder predominantly
non-Hispanic white, to help remedy the underrepresentation of African Americans in health studies and enable
direct black/white comparisons. Recruitment took place during 2002-2009 across 12 southern states, mainly at
Community Health Centers (CHCs), institutions providing basic health and preventive services in underserved
areas. Thus, most of the cohort members, both black and white, had low income and education levels. Participants
were recruited from across a span from remote rural to urban areas of the south. The recruitment approach
resulted in the SCCS comprising vulnerable segments of the American population at elevated risk of
cancer and other chronic illnesses seldom if ever included in large numbers in other cohorts. In addition to
detailed survey data, biospecimens were collected from over 76,000 cohort members at baseline, with bloods
obtained and stored for approximately 39,000, mouth rinses/saliva for 38,000 and urines for 24,000, so that
genomic DNA could be extracted from nearly 90% participants. In 2018, we initiated stool sample collection and
anticipate collecting fecal samples from ~9,000 cohort members by 2021, providing the only repository of fecal
samples available for gut microbiome research among large numbers of African Americans and underserved
populations. No other cohort has a collection of baseline biospecimens from African Americans as
comprehensive as the SCCS.
We thus seek renewal of the U01 infrastructure grant to continue the operational aspects of this highly
successful study which is yielding important information regarding risks and outcomes of cancer according to race,
socioeconomic status and rurality. The SCCS is poised to produce even greater benefit in the coming years as the
cohort matures and even larger numbers of cancer events (now exceeding 10,600) occur. In the current grant
period alone, SCCS data and biologic samples have been used by >300 researchers across over 57 institutions,
examining many important issues related to cancer disparities. We therefore propose to (1) continue passive follow-
up of the cohort via established linkages with various national and state registries to identify deaths, incident
cancers, and other health outcomes; (2) continue active follow-up via re-contact with participants to update
exposure and health information; (3) maintain and enhance the SCCS Biospecimen Repository, adding tumor
tissue collections from a projected 1,500 participants; (4) enhance and expand the SCCS geospatial database,
seeking and geocoding participant residential histories and adding further contextual social, built and environmental
data; and (5) provide overall management of the SCCS and facilitation of resource sharing utilizing SCCS data and
biospecimens. Continuation of the SCCS will enable critical research across the broad scientific community
aimed at the amelioration and eventual elimination of cancer disparities and inequities in the United States.
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