Most cancers, diabetes findings unlocked by world’s most ethnically numerous research


One possible key to a high incidence of type 2 diabetes in Japanese Americans was discovered using data from the world’s most ethnically diverse and long-running study, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center’s Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study. The development of type 2 diabetes has been linked to visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or intra-abdominal fat, particularly in Japanese Americans with ectopic adipose tissue (EAT), excess fat in places not usually associated with fat storage. This latest finding is one of hundreds that have been informed by MEC data since its introduction in 1993.

One publication highlighted this new research, finding that obesity is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes in many races. Conversely, Japanese Americans have a relatively low body mass index, but tend to have higher VAT and EAT values. This results in fewer tests than races with higher obesity rates, which may be a factor in the high incidence among Japanese Americans.

The results of this study can help improve strategies for the early detection and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diet and exercise can play an important role in preventing the onset of diabetes. Individuals should contact their doctor for more information.

The MEC study

Researcher Unhee Lim shares her findings on obesity and cancer on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the MEC study.

The state Hawaii is known for being one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country, which makes the UH Cancer Center a unique center for cancer research. To serve best HawaiiPopulation, epidemiologists at the Cancer Research Center of HawaiiToday’s UH Cancer Center launched the MEC study in 1993. Over the years, the study has made many advances in understanding the differences in cancer risk between races and ethnic groups. The results had a significant impact on identifying cancer prevention options.

The MEC study is a large epidemiological study that included 215,000 residents of Hawaii and Los Angeles, 45 to 75 years since the study began, for developing cancer and other chronic diseases. It includes men and women from five major ethnic groups: Japanese Americans, Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Latinos, and Whites. The study was initiated by Laurence Kolonel at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiiand Brian Henderson of the University of Southern California’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Ronald Cambra, who has participated in the MEC study since 1993, recently retired as Vice Chancellor of Basic Education at UH Mānoa after having worked at the university for more than 40 years. He is one of the many residents Hawaii and Los Angeles, who have generously contributed their time and information that led to life-changing and life-saving cancer discoveries.

“I am very proud to be a member of the MEC,” said Cambra. “I recently read some of the conclusions from this work. I am more convinced than ever that every second of my time devoted to this task has resulted in knowledge, saved life and accelerated our understanding, and focused on finding the best approaches to fighting any cancer and, ultimately, a cure . ”

Scientific contributions

two men sit on a benchParticipants in the MEC study on the occasion of the 25th anniversary.

The MEC study has gained national and international recognition among biomedical scientists because it is the most ethnically diverse and longest-running longitudinal cohort study in the world.

The MEC has produced more than 800 scientific publications. These focused on the role of alcohol, coffee, nutritional quality, meat cooking methods, nutritional supplements, body fat distribution, physical activity, reproductive factors, hormones, inflammation, diabetes, air pollution, gut microbiome, genetics, and more in determining a person’s risk for cancer and other diseases. The results of the MEC study were used at the national level to formulate general population guidelines for diet, cancer prevention and cancer risk reduction.

MEC discoveries

View other MEC-related studies.

The UH Cancer Center celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021. Look for more stories throughout the year as it ponders 50 years of progress and looks to the next 50 years to bring even more innovation to research and cancer care.

This is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of excellence in research: promoting the company’s research and creative work (PDF), one of four goals set out in the 2015 Strategic Plan & @ 8211; 25 were set (PDF), updated December 2020.