News Release

PHILADELPHIA — A $10 million grant from the National Cancer Institute will fund a new center at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on the relationship between exercise, weight loss, and improving the length and quality of life for the nation's 12 million cancer survivors.

Projects in the Penn Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Survivor Center will include:

  • A pre-clinical study examining whether exercise and/or weight loss prevents breast cancer recurrence in mice, headed by Lewis Chodosh, MD, PhD, chair of the department of Cancer Biology
  • A trial recruiting 555 overweight breast cancer survivors with the treatment-related arm-swelling condition known as lymphedema for an exercise and weight loss study led by Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • A cost-effectiveness analysis of Penn's weight training intervention for breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, in hopes of translating its published results from research to standard of care, led by Sandy Schwartz, PhD, Leon Hess Professor of Medicine, Health Management & Economics

"The Penn TREC Survivor Center will bring together obesity and cancer researchers in a brand new way, through three large scientific projects, as well as education and outreach efforts," says Schmitz. "We are creating a sustainable research and education program with a mission to improve the quality and length of cancer survivorship." Though the new center's research will begin with breast cancer survivors, as they are the largest group of cancer survivors, investigators will expand their research into the links between exercise and survivorship among other types of cancer survivors.

"NCI is very concerned about the epidemic of obesity and its implications for cancer," said Robert Croyle, Ph.D., director of NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. "This investment reflects the urgency of the problem and the need to accelerate scientific progress to inform cancer control strategies."

Breast Cancer Survivors interested in learning more about Dr. Schmitz' exercise and weight loss trial for breast cancer survivors are urged to visit the Physical Activity and Lymphedema website and click on "Dr. Schmitz's other exercise studies" to sign up to receive information about new trials.


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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