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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has launched a new program that hopes to get more minorities interested in prostate cancer research.

Grant money has allowed the medical center to bring the North Carolina Undergraduate Summer Prostate Cancer Research Program to its campus.

“African Americans are at a higher risk of prostate cancer and die more frequently from prostate cancer than Caucasian or Asian Americans,” said Dr. Boris Pasche, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Seven students, four from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and three from Winston-Salem State University, participated in the eight-week program.

“Our students are studying everything from the basic aspects of why prostate cancer starts to why prostate cancer metastasizes,” said Steve Kridel, associate professor of cancer biology.

The students say the experience will give them a better idea of how to spread awareness about prostate cancer.

“I can share with people the risk factors — what you should do now so you can inhibit that later on in your years,” said Toneia Washington, a student at Winston-Salem State University.

Koran Harris, a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, plans to continue his research after the program ends this week.

“I decided I want to stay here throughout the semester, maybe throughout the year [to] get a little more experience,” Harris said.

“Not only does it give us hands on experience, but it also gives us knowledge of what goes on in the research industry,” said Tomi Ladipo, a student at North Carolina A&T State University.

The grant was provided by the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.

The current funding also covers a program for next summer.