Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 63 percent of deaths in the world today, or more than 36 million deaths each year. The largest burden due to NCDs (80 percent or 28 million) occurs in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). NCDs are a major cause of poverty in these countries.
The four main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (e.g., heart attacks, stroke), cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases (e.g., chronic obstructed pulmonary disease, asthma). Recently, the World Health Organization added mental health to the group to address the rapid rise of mental disorders, injuries, and violence.
‘Not beyond us’ is the theme for World Cancer Day 2015, which recognizes the power of community and seeks to raise awareness that together much can be done to reduce the global cancer burden. In commemoration of World Cancer Day, the Center for Global Health (CGH) has planned a number of activities, including a round table discussion on cancer control tools in low- and middle-income countries and two webinars with an international perspective–one on cancer control plans and another on breast cancer screening.
CGH partnered with the Center for Strategic and International Studies to host Tools against Cancer in Developing Societies, a round table discussion on the research, development, and delivery of tools that can be used effectively and affordably to prevent and treat cancer in low- and middle-income countries. The event will bring together leading minds in global cancer research, including Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of the National Cancer Institute; Ambassador Sally Cowal, Senior Vice President of Global Health at the American Cancer Society; and Mr. Thomas Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development at The Council on Foreign Relations. The session will be moderated by Dr. J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, and will be broadcasted via videocast on February 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST.
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Early this month, I was warmly received by Ambassador Ted Osius and Chargé d'Affaires Claire Pierangelo, Deputy Chief of Mission, at the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam as an Embassy Science Fellow (ESF) hosted by the Economics Section. The United States is currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of US-Vietnamese relations, with science, technology, and health cooperation highlighted as key elements of this celebration.
The Introduction to Cancer Program Planning and Implementation Research Workshop, co-organized by the National Cancer Institute, Center for Global Health (CGH), in collaboration with the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), and Instituto Nacional del Cancer (INC) of Argentina, was held in Buenos Aires, November 5 - 7, 2014. I was pleased to participate with DCCPS’s Dr. Cindy Vinson, in collaboration with Dr. Maria Viniegra from INC Argentina, in the development of the program and selection of international speakers. This Workshop was organized in the context of a memorandum of understanding signed by the INC Argentina and the US NCI to collaborate in common areas of interest. Implementation and dissemination research is one of the priorities areas identified by INC Argentina as it is essential to study the process of how to move research into practice to improve cancer screening, prevention and the continuum of care.
Research on implementation science addresses the level to which health interventions can fit within real-world public health and clinical service systems. The overall goal of the Introduction to Cancer Program Planning and Implementation Research Workshop was to train a critical mass of researchers, program managers, practitioners, and policy makers that can apply the knowledge gained on implementation and dissemination research to promote evidence-based interventions to reduce the cancer burden in the country and globally. Some of the specific objectives were to provide an overview of introductory concepts on implementation and dissemination research and cancer control planning and to encourage interdisciplinary networking among the participants and faculty. A thoroughly-developed and interactive program agenda that included lectures, case studies and group exercises, along with outstanding faculty from US institutions, Brazil and Argentina, and a highly engaged and selected group of attendees, were some of the key aspects for making this Workshop a highly successful event. CGH supported the travel of five trainees from institutions that are part of the Red de Institutos Nacionales de Cancer (RINC) in Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador with the long-term goal of moving forward implementation research and cancer control planning in those countries.
The INC Argentina is committed to make implementation research a priority in the country. Some of the plans include a specific call for applications for grants and research fellowships on implementation research and an assessment of the workshop impact by following-up with the attendees to assess workshop impact on their program work or research career.
Stimulating and strengthening cancer research networks and fostering sustainable research capacity through collaboration are goals of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The United States – Latin America Cancer Research Network (US-LA CRN) convened its Annual Meeting, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of Chile, in Santiago, Chile this November, bringing together investigators from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and the United States to discuss the Network’s first multilateral clinical research study: Molecular Profiling of Breast Cancer (MPBC). The US-LA CRN has utilized a transdisciplinary and collaborative team science approach throughout the planning and implementation phases of the MPBC to achieve the study objectives of building clinical cancer research capacity in the region while increasing our understanding of breast cancer molecular subtypes in Latin American women.
Dr. Tom Gross, Deputy Director for Science, CGH and I led discussions on the interim analysis of data from more than 1,300 breast cancer patients, across 25 hospitals in Latin America, recruited since 2011. Short-term plans resulting from this meeting include, among others, the publication of a series of manuscripts describing the clinical cancer research network model, analysis and publication of the data collected to date for the MPBC study, and the planning of correlative studies. In addition, groundwork for the development of a second US-LA CRN study, focused on gastric cancer, was discussed.