LEWISTOWN - The Pennsylvania Department of Health presented nearly $4 million to the Geisinger Health Clinic in Lewistown on Aug. 22 as part of the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program, or C.U.R.E. The money is made up of two grants that will be used to fund current research projects focused on esophageal cancer treatment and advancing detection of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
The C.U.R.E. program funds health research with the purpose of discovering new scientific knowledge to help improve the health of all Pennsylvanians. The distribution of the grants is determined based on specific research priorities established and reviewed by the Department of Health in conjunction with the Health Research Advisory Committee, a panel made up of universities and research institutes.
The first project, entitled Utility of Genomic Data in Population Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, received $2,909,969 of the funds. The project uses knowledge of genetic risk factors to improve screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm which is in the 20 leading causes of death in America. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, an abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs becomes abnormally large.
The second project, entitled Diagnostic-Prognostic Testing in Patients at High Risk for Esophageal Cancer, received $1 million of the funds. This project is dedicated to developing a test that predicts the risk of developing esophageal cancer in patients with chronic reflux disease and Barrett's Esophagusm, a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by stomach acid.