MCG receives $2.84 million to study cancer and heart disease

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Chances are you or someone you know has cancer or heart disease. Those two kill more people every year in the U.S. than anything else. And they disproportionally impact people of color.

Now the Medical College of Georgia is one of four institutions in the country selected to help study the correlation between cancer and heart disease.

The American Heart Association gave $11 million to four different institutions, and MCG got $2.84 million of it. They showed us how they’re enlisting students in their fight.

Students at Paine College are going to be heading into labs, getting hands-on experience studying our nation’s biggest killers. MCG is diving deep into cardiovascular disease and cancer and more importantly why they impact some people more than others.

Charleston Lee is heading into her senior year at Paine College and she’s only 16.

“Computer science, computer engineering, more of or computational research, analysis that area,” said Lee.

If you can’t tell from her interests she’s pretty smart. And she’s going to be working alongside researchers like Dr. Weintraub studying cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“So, that will allow us to work with Paine, that will allow us to work with the students there, many of whom who are also persons of color whose families and friends have been disproportionately affected,” said Dr. Neal Weintraub, Associate Director of MCG’s Vascular Biology Center.

MCG says a major focus of theirs is pinpointing why these conditions impact black communities more than others. According to DPH, cancer and cardiovascular disease accounted for 50 percent of deaths in the black community from 2015-2019 in Richmond County.

“My grandfather has cancer, and my grandmother has heart disease so that was another reason why I thought this was a great opportunity because I get to look more, I get to see the details of what is going on,” said Lee.

And doing it all is made possible thanks to a grant from the American Heart Association. Getting the money, no easy feat.

“This was a real competition to get this grant and I’m really proud to say that we beat out Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, many other prestigious places to get this grant,” said Dr. Weintraub.

And there’s a new generation of students here at home ready to get work alongside MCG’s pros.

They’re still hammering out details but hope to have everything up and running by next month when students return.

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