CGH Spotlight Blog
This blog features content and images to showcase the great work from the Center for Global Health.
More and more we see the complicated nature of cancer in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) made even more complex as it intertwines with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease. As the Center for Global Health (CGH) embarks on its fifth year, the need to address cancer as one piece in a puzzle of diseases is becoming increasingly apparent. To meet this challenge, CGH is developing new programs that look at cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, and control through the lens of NCDs.
Dr. Mahendra Naidoo, Fulbright Scholar with Johns Hopkins University, brings to CGH new approaches for public health – a cornerstone for research in NCDs. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and formally trained in New Zealand and Australia with additional medical student training in the United States, thinking globally comes naturally to Mahendra. His talent for bringing innovation to LMIC communities comes from an unrelenting desire to continually improve on public health practices. His entrepreneurial spirit has led him to team with like-minded classmates to design and produce low-cost medical devices for LMIC markets. Mahendra continues to expand his reach, recently joining the U.S./New Zealand Working Group as part of the 2-year bilateral research program that contributes to high-level strategic discussions on non-communicable diseases.
In different ways, we all feel the growing burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). We have family members with cancer or heart disease; we ourselves may have diabetes or allergies. The World Health Organization tells us that NCDs kill 38M people a year and ¾ (28M) of those deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As researchers, we feel compelled to address the NCD burden in places that need it the most - LMICs.
To assist researchers in embarking on this research, the NCI is launching the Regional Centers of Research Excellence (RCRE) program. It is our vision that this grant program will be launched in three phases: plan, build, and use. An RFA for P20 Planning Grants was released last week. The purpose of these two-year, $400K direct cost P20 planning grants is to facilitate the planning and design of RCREs for NCDs, including cancer, in LMICs.
The Office for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the NCI’s Center for Global Health held a workshop entitled “Improving Chronic Disease in the Caribbean through Evidence-based Behavioral and Social Interventions”, which took place in Bridgetown, Barbados from July 21 to 24, 2015. The objectives of the workshop were to encourage the generation of research to more rapidly accelerate chronic disease prevention and management Additional objectives included bridging existing gaps in chronic disease etiology, prevention, screening, treatment, and health disparities in relation to race, socioeconomic status, religious background, and gender inequality. Other participating NIH ICs included National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Fogarty International Center and the Center for Scientific Review. Regional Caribbean partners included the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) of the University of West Indies at Cave Hill and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. John Boyce delivered a dynamic keynote in which he revealed plans for Barbados to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Workshop program included presentations on US-Caribbean Health Disparities (Dr. Ian Hambleton, CDRC); Chronic Disease Surveillance in the Caribbean (Ms. Angela Rose, CDRC); Surveillance of NCDs in the Caribbean with Implications for CARICOM countries (Glennis Andall-Brereton, CARPHA); Cancer Control and Prevention in the Caribbean (Dr. Damali Martin, NCI); Community Engagement of Culturally Tailored Interventions (Ms. Dana Sampson, OBSSR); and Translation Research and Implementation Science for Chronic Disease Advancement (Uche Sampson, NHLBI). Additional sessions included a panel discussion on proper collection of data for epidemiology research, and break-out sessions on cervical cancer, physical activity, alcohol abuse and tobacco us, diet and nutrition, health literacy, treatment adherence, complementary medicine, diabetes and hypertension. Further presentations on US-Caribbean collaboration for cancer and diabetes research and on the NIH grant process were also covered on the second and third days of the workshop.
Call for Applications for Cancer Research in the Media Workshops in India: Deadline Extended to September 4, 2015.
Journalists have a unique opportunity to help consumers be healthier skeptics. Equipped with science-writing skills and an enhanced understanding of cancer, journalists can provide the public accurate and balanced coverage of cancer research developments. Skillfully crafted stories enable patients to make informed decisions about their health and facilitate knowledge sharing among scientists.
Last Thursday, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Global Health (CGH) had the pleasure of welcoming a delegation of health officials from the Government of Peru for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Peru. The agreement strengthens relations between the two countries, and provides a framework for knowledge exchange and support for cancer research.
NCI Acting Director Dr. Douglas Lowy, Peru’s Ambassador to the United States Dr. Luis Miguel Castilla, and Institutional Head Dr. Tatiana Vidaurre and Chief of Regulations and Quality Assurance Dr. Roxana Regalado, both from the National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases of Peru (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas, INEN), attended the event.
A significant step toward strengthening US-India relations was taken on Thursday, June 25, 2015 when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between our governments to foster cooperation in cancer research. This MoU was signed between the US National Cancer Institute and three agencies of the Indian government - the Department of Biotechnology, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Indian National Cancer Institute, a part of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Representatives from these various agencies were the signatories from the Government of India and US envoy to India, Ambassador R.K. Verma, signed on behalf of the US government.
This signing is a key milestone in the Center for Global Health’s (CGH) engagement with partners in in cancer research in India. Since the India office of CGH was opened in 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Preetha Rajaraman, we have established partnerships with several agencies of the Indian government engaged in cancer research, conducted joint workshops, and published collaborative papers on cancer control and implementation.
The United States-México border region constitutes an area defined as 62 miles north and south of the United States-México border, approximately 2000 miles in length, and is considered the largest border region in the world. It includes 80 towns (municipios) in six Mexican states and 48 counties in four U.S. states. It is also a very challenging place when it comes to global health needs, as it includes both non-communicable (particularly breast & cervical cancer, diabetes, etc) and infectious diseases, as well as mental, child, and reproductive health issues and a high incidence of trauma deaths and violence. In an attempt to address these pressing bilateral health issues, the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission launched the Healthy Border 2020 at the Mexican Embassy in the United States on June 24, 2015. This new initiative aims to strengthening what was accomplished on the previous plan of action entitled Healthy Border 2010.
The launch of Healthy Border 2020 was held at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington DC and was attended, among many others, by Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., the Secretary of Health from New Mexico, Secretaries of Health from four Mexican states, as well as other HHS senior officers and senior representatives from the Mexican Secretariat of Health. During the launch of Healthy Border 2020, the objectives, plan of action, and priorities for the Healthy Border 2020 were described, including a roadmap for its implementation in both countries.
CGH is working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on the ESTAMPA Study, a multi-centric study of cervical cancer screening and triage with HPV testing. This study compares screening of 50,000 women in 10 Latin American countries for visual, cytological, and molecular triage methods, or combination of these methods, for their performance and cost-effectiveness among women participating in HPV-based screening programs.
The ESTAMPA Study has already begun in Colombia, Paraguay, Honduras and Uruguay, and will begin soon in Costa Rica, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. It is also expected that Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador will begin recruiting eligible women into the study within the year. The benefit of a study that aims to recruit such a large number of women is not only a comprehensive representation of the Latin American population, but the ESTAMPA study offers cervical cancer screening to women who otherwise may not have been ever screened and who may be at high risk of cervical cancer. Through its support of the ESTAMPA study, CGH promotes the regionally organized cervical cancer screening, unique to Latin America. CGH’s contributions include training for over forty cervical cancer researchers, pathologists, medical oncologists, and oncology nurses participating in the study; transferring both knowledge and technology while strengthening this valuable network of cancer researchers in the region.
The International Cancer Screening Network (ICSN) Meeting brings together individuals involved in cancer screening research and cancer screening programs from the ICSN’s member countries. The consortium meets once every two to three years, and began as a small group of 16 collaborators in 1997. In the most recent meeting of the ICSN, in Rotterdam from June 2-4, 2015, there were over 250 participants – a testament to growing interest in cancer screening. ICSN is composed of 23 countries, many of which are classified as high-income countries by the World Bank. To add a new dimension, CGH led the workshop session “Implementation Science Research for Cancer Screening in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” (LMICs), in an effort to expand the reach of the ICSN.
Dr. Sudha Sivaram began the afternoon by giving an introduction to implementation science, followed by our three invited speakers from LMICs: Dr. Mimi Raesima, from Botswana; Dr. Soo Teo, from Malaysia; and Dr. Partha Basu, from the International Agency of Research on Cancer, who has worked extensively in India. This group presented cancer epidemiology data from their respective countries and explained lessons they have learned in their work, as well as future opportunities for growth in national level cancer screening programs. Dr. Stephen Taplin, NCI, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, concluded the morning session with his own experiences from the NCI, before participants broke into small groups to further connect with LMIC speakers.
NCI CGH was privileged to co-sponsor the 2015 International Symposium on Cancer Clinical Trials and related meetings held in partnership with the Japanese National Cancer Center (JNCC) and Embassies of France, Korea, United Kingdom (UK), and United States (US) in Tokyo on May 14 - 15, 2015.
On May14, 2015, Drs. Atsushi Ohtsu and Seiichiro Yamamoto of JNCC hosted an Experts’ Meeting that highlighted exciting research by Japanese and UK scientists. Dr. Takayuki Yoshino (JNCC) and Dr. Naoko Takebe (US NCI) introduced new precision medicine initiatives, and Drs. Timothy Yap, Hiroyoshi Nishikawa, and Samantha Turnbull presented their work on phase I trials and immunotherapy. This was followed by a meeting with cancer patient advocates hosted by Drs. Fumihiko Wakao and Seiichiro Yamamoto of JNCC. Here, Japanese patient advocates shared the need for more information and patient access to clinical trials, patient advocate training, and opportunities to provide input on clinical research. Drs. Ted Trimble, Matt Seymour, and François Sigaux presented on ways that patient advocates play an important role in cancer research in the US, UK, and France, respectively. This session was informative for everyone as participants heard examples for patient involvement that could be adopted in their own country.