CGH Spotlight Blog
This blog features content and images to showcase the great work from the Center for Global Health.
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.
Breast and cervical cancers are two leading causes of death among women worldwide. Countries in the northern Andean region face the highest mortality and incidence ratio for these cancers in Latin America. Poor outcomes in low- and middle-income countries have been attributed to a lack of awareness on the benefits of early detection and treatment, late stage detection, and limited access to cancer-related treatment.
In early spring the Center for Global Health saw the opportunity to better support Peru’s efforts in bringing attention to the role of education and advocacy in breast and cervical cancer prevention and control. Through partnerships with the Peruvian Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) regional office, the first Women’s Cancer Summit was held in Lima, Peru. This unique training workshop brought primary-level health care providers from 26 districts together with patient advocates and survivors from Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador.
Indonesia boasts some of the highest smoking rates in the world. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), conducted in 2011 by the Indonesian National Institute of Health Research and Development and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that more than 67% of men and almost 40% of boys aged 13-15 use tobacco.
The numbers are staggering. If left unchecked, tobacco-related illness will wreak havoc on Indonesia's health system. In 2014, the Government of Indonesia implemented universal health care that will provide unprecedented levels of health coverage to the Indonesian population.. If tobacco use rates continue at current levels, chronic diseases such as cancer will economically burden this system in yet untold ways.
Mexico’s National Cancer Institute, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (INCan), has been designated by its Secretaría de Salud (Secretary of Health) as the leading entity to coordinate the development and implementation of its first National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP). The National Cancer Institute and the Center for Global Health have had a long-standing and successful partnership with INCan, and at their request are identifying new or enhanced ways to provide technical support by way of resources, training, and collaborative programs to facilitate the implementation of the NCCP.
Mexican authorities recognize the need for strengthening their current health policies and integrating research to enhance cancer control efforts across the country. In addition, an emphasis has been placed on building capacity among healthcare professionals within the cancer community to better address the cancer burden in Mexico. To this end, cancer control and research experts from the National Cancer Institute, Center for Global Health; Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; and Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention are meeting with representatives from Secretaría de Salud, INCan, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health), Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán (National Institute of Nutrition), and Instituto de Medicina Genómica (Institute of Genomic Medicine) in Mexico this week to discuss expanding existing and exploring new collaborations. Areas of interest include cancer control and epidemiology, tobacco control research, cancer research and education training, border health, joint research activities, and scientific journalism training.
Shady Grove celebrated Take Your Child To Work Day (TYCTWD) this year with a variety of activities and sessions aimed at inspiring school-aged children to explore career paths in science and public service. CGH took this opportunity to host its inaugural Take Your Child To Work Day session, An Introduction to Global Health. The session was overwhelmingly well received by kids and parents alike, as our theme prompted them to think about the importance of nutrition, healthy living, and science not only in their own lives, but in the lives of everyone around the world.
The 45-minute session, bringing together fifteen students ranging from 1st to 7th grade, began with a presentation by Dr. Lisa Stevens (Deputy Director Planning and Operations) and Cathy Muha (Branch Chief for Planning, Evaluation and Operations) highlighting the missions of the NIH, NCI, and CGH. The presentation concluded with CGH facilitators, Balkissa Abdoulaye; Elyse Gillen; Tom Gross; Catherine Hidalgo; Sudha Sivaram; and Hillary Topazian, each sharing with the group what they enjoyed most about working at CGH.
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The NCI Center for Global Health hosted its first session at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional association related to cancer research, and its annual meeting is a veritable who’s who of cancer experts, industry leaders, and policy professionals. This year’s annual meeting included approximately 750 sessions and attracted 20,000 participants, fully overwhelming the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’.