Masonic Scholar Anna Prizment, Ph.D., an epidemiology and community health faculty member at the U, is dedicated to stopping colorectal cancer and is leading two major efforts to inhibit its development and progression.
In one study, Prizment and her team are exploring the role of white blood cells called eosinophils and T cells.
After examining data from hundreds of people, they have found that increased levels of these cells are strongly associated with better survival in colorectal cancer patients. They are now working to determine how these cells work in a mouse model of the disease. Because eosinophils and other immune cells may be significant predictors of patient outcomes, Prizment’s eventual goal is to develop a prognostic tool for colorectal cancer that can be used in the clinic.
In another pilot study, Prizment is exploring the role of aspirin in colorectal cancer prevention.
Past research has shown that people who take aspirin on a regular basis are at lower risk for developing colorectal cancer. However, the drug can still have adverse effects in some people and is not yet recommended for prevention in healthy individuals. Prizment hopes that this study will help identify the people who would benefit most from taking aspirin for colorectal cancer prevention.
“Support from Minnesota Masonic Charities will be crucial in expanding this research."