New Models for Global Cancer Research, Training, and Control: The 10th Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research
, by Mishka Kohli Cira, MPH
The NCI Center for Global Health brings together the global cancer research and control community at the Annual Symposium on Global Cancer Research (ASGCR) to exchange knowledge and learn from one another’s diverse backgrounds and experiences. The 10th ASGCR was held virtually March 22-24, 2022, alongside the Consortium of University for Global Health Annual Conference. Meeting highlights and the 59 scientific abstracts presented at the Symposium are featured in the Special Supplement of ASCO’s JCO Global Oncology.
The Symposium theme ‘New Models for Global Cancer Research, Training, and Control’ was embodied in the content of the scientific program, as well as the design of the event, which sought to highlight perspectives, challenges, and solutions from low- and middle-income country (LMIC) scientists and implementers. This year’s Scientific Steering Committee sought to address several difficult questions related to global cancer research and control to move this emerging field forward.
How can early career investigators build a career path in global cancer research? This question was at the heart of the inaugural Early Career Investigator Day (ECID). The early career panel facilitated by Dr. Asmaa El-Kenawi of Moffit Cancer Center (US)/Mansoura University (Egypt) and Ms. Erinma Elibe of the National Cancer Institute (US) encouraged high-income country collaborators to celebrate cultural differences while practicing patience and humility in developing research collaborations, and highlighted the need for mentor and mentee training to establish respectful working relationships.
How can we get around ‘fixes that fail’? The multi-disciplinary panel on systems thinking applied to global cancer research explored this question from several perspectives. Dr. Andrew Kambugu of the Infectious Diseases Institute (Uganda) described unintended local consequences and tensions arising from individual staff traveling abroad repeatedly for multiple trainings, instead of the more effective and sustainable model of in-country technical training to benefit the entire team.
How will the global cancer research community respond to the long-standing power imbalance in Global North/Global South partnerships? Professor Agnes Binagwaho of the University of Global Health Equity (Rwanda) started the rethinking academic global cancer research panel by noting the changes needed at the structural, financial, educational, and relational levels. Sustainable strengthening of local capabilities and listening to local researchers who truly understand the local context were two solutions put forward by Dr. Andrea S. Llera of Fundación Leloir-CONICET (Argentina).
At the opening and closing of the 2022 ASGCR, the NCI CGH Director Dr. Satish Gopal quoted the late Dr. Paul Farmer, stating “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world." As we at the NCI Center for Global Health strive to embody our strategic plan core values of impact, collaboration, and equity, we look forward to reconvening with the global cancer research and control and broader global health communities for the 2023 ASGCR.