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The United States - Latin America Cancer Research Network: A multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to conducting clinical cancer research in Latin America

, by Silvina Frech

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.

Guided by the expert leadership of National Coordinators for each participating country, US-LA CRN researchers recognize the tremendous value of working together in multidisciplinary research teams across institutions and countries, joining forces to significantly expand the impact of their work on patients and society.

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