Connecticut Hospital Teams With Tuskegee University on Cancer Study

HARTFORD, Ct. – Saint Francis Hospital and Tuskegee University have announced a partnership to study why prostate cancer has a disproportionately high death rate among African-American men.

The Hartford hospital’s Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute will provide data and samples to Tuskegee’s cancer research program under a memorandum of understanding signed Monday. The collaboration will include scientific research and testing to try to determine how prostate cancer is passed on in African-American men and to predict which cancers will be more aggressive.

“This partnership is a leading-edge, very novel approach to finding a cure for prostate cancer,” said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, medical director of the Connecticut institute.

The hospital plans to routinely provide researchers at the Alabama University with prostate cancer tissue from African-American men. The Tuskegee program has previously had only random samples for its research.

The two institutions also will join to create an outreach and educational campaign about the disease.

“The significance of this partnership is historic,” said Dr. Roberta Troy, the founding director of Tuskegee’s Health Disparities Institute for Research and Education. “To establish a partnership between a historically Black university in the South and a major hospital and heal institute in the northern region of the United States to combat prostate cancer will have a great impact on the health outcomes in African-American men.”

The Robinson institute was opened in February 2010 in response to the number of African-American men who were dying of prostate cancer because they had no health insurance or were underinsured, the hospital said. Since then, it has reached more than 900 patients with prostate cancer screening.