Year 5 Pilot Projects

Year 5 – Ola HAWAII Pilot Projects

Stephanie Lim, MD

Comparing peripheral immune landscape between healthy Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Japanese, and Caucasian adults

 In recent years, immunotherapy has emerged as a powerful tool in cancer research. Insights gained through molecular and cellular biology studies have allowed us to harness the potential of our immune system in creating novel anti-cancer therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cellular therapy, and cancer vaccinology. However, despite evidence describing differences in the tumor microenvironment between certain race/ethnicities, to date, no studies have compared the immune landscape between disparate communities such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. The goal of this project is to characterize the peripheral immunologic landscape between Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Japanese and non-Hispanic White healthy adults. We hypothesize that differences in the immune landscape exists between various race/ethnicities. Knowledge gain from this pilot study may lead to tailoring of effective, racially based immune therapies rather than the current “one size fits all” approach.

Camlyn Masuda, PharmD

Understanding How to Manage Diabetes (DM) /Prediabetes from Those Who are Homeless

The quality of care to manage complex chronic disease such as diabetes mellitus in the houseless is not well understood by existing health care systems, hospitals or public health officials. While the need for medical outreach to the houseless population is vast and largely dependent on a volunteer workforce of diverse health professionals, we see an urgent need to better understand the perspectives and insights of the people who serve the houseless population as well as the individuals who are actually experiencing unstable housing or houselessness. Thus, this pilot study addresses this gap in our understanding by interviewing people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are houseeless and volunteers who help with the JABSOM Homeless Outreach Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) Project to better understand the challenges and concerns associated with managing and caring for diabetes and prediabetes in those suffering from houselessness.

Brooks Mitchell, PhD

The Effect of Metformin on the Gut Immune Microenvironment

Gut dysbiosis and inflammation persist in people living with HIV (PLWH) despite receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), further contributing to non-AIDS comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). Metformin, an antidiabetic agent, is known to have pleiotropic effects including gut-protective benefits, which may be due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties; however, the cellular mechanisms involved, particularly in the immune microenvironment within the gut tissue, remain uncertain. Utilizing rectal biopsies obtained from a 72-week, single site, open label, randomized, observation-controlled Phase IV trial of Metformin in PLWH; the purpose of this pilot study is to assess the effect of Metformin on: (1) gut tissue inflammation and fibrosis and (2) immune cell populations within the gut tissue microenvironment.

Lorinda Riley, SJD

Ke ala i ka Mauliola: Measuring Native Hawaiian Historical Trauma

 Native Hawaiian youth are overrepresented in the Juvenile Justice System. Prior studies indicate that juvenile incarceration is associated with worse physical and mental health outcome in adulthood. Native Hawaiians, like American Indians, describe feelings of loss stemming from colonization. Therefore, historical trauma may play a role in youth incarceration. This study will investigate whether and how Native Hawaiian justice-involved youth experience historical trauma in order to develop a scale to measure this construct.