The Lombardi Cancer Center of Georgetown University has received a $7 million grant from the Department of Defense to establish the new Breast Cancer Center of Excellence. The center will include researchers from the State University of New York at Buffalo, the National Cancer Institute, the Washington Hospital Center and the Catholic University of America in addition to Georgetown University.

The primary purpose of the center will be to examine the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is a well-documented risk factor for causing breast cancer, but the reason that increased alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer is poorly understood.

Peter Shields, professor of medicine and director of cancer genetics and epidemiology at Georgetown University Medical Center, will be the supervisor of the research effort.

“Alcohol drinking causes about 17,000 new breast cancer cases per year,” Dr. Shields said in a university press release. “This is the major known modifiable risk factor and affects about four times more women than those from high risk families. Just as we can learn a lot about women’s risk in general by studying women from high risk families, the same also is true for the study of alcohol drinking.”

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