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Global Cancer Conversations

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, which includes an explicit global mandate for NCI. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of a dedicated NCI Center for Global Health (CGH). These simultaneous anniversaries inspired us to create a new series called Global Cancer Conversations.   

Global Cancer Conversations features informal, prerecorded interview-style discussions between CGH Director Dr. Satish Gopal and key leaders in cancer research and control who have contributed to the global oncology field. The discussions provide opportunities for thoughtful dialogue concerning significant past events, the current state, and achievements in global cancer research and control. It is an opportunity to reflect on historical events to inform and inspire future efforts.

Episode 4: Adeeba Kamarulzaman, M.B.B.S., F.R.A.C.P., F.A.S.C.

Episode 4 - Adeeba Kamarulzaman, MBBS, FRACP, FASc

Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman, M.B.B.S., F.R.A.C.P., F.A.S.C., is a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Universiti Malaya and an adjunct associate professor at Yale University. She was the dean of the faculty of medicine, Universiti Malaya from 2011 to 2019. She is presently chair of the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre's COVID-19 Task Force, a member of several state COVID-19 Task Forces, and a member of the Malaysian National Recovery Council. Professor Kamarulzaman has played a leading role in the response to the HIV epidemic in Malaysia and globally and is currently the chairman of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, president of the International AIDS Society, and a member of the WHO Science Council, United Nations AIDS Advisory Group and WHO Academy’s Quality Committee. Her achievements have been recognized through several national and international awards including an honorary doctor of laws from her alma mater, Monash University, for her contributions to medicine and as a health advocate. Join Dr. Kamarulzaman as she discusses her thoughts on where we are in respect to HIV globally, addressing the complexity of the global health context using implementation science, and why we must prioritize these multilevel approaches which extend traditional biomedical research paradigms.

Episode 3: Felicia Knaul, Ph.D.

Global Cancer Conversations: Felicia Knaul, PhD

Felicia Knaul, Ph.D., has played an important role in advocating for and achieving global cancer health equity throughout her career and has led Lancet Commissions to draw attention to this topic. Throughout her career she been deeply engaged in these efforts, formerly at Harvard and currently at the University of Miami where she’s a member of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and directs the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. Dr. Knaul is a professor at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. She maintains a strong and synergistic global program of research and advocacy anchored in Mexico, where she is senior economist at the Mexican Health Foundation. She is also the founding president of Tómatelo a Pecho, A.C., a Mexico-based nongovernmental organization that promotes research, advocacy, awareness, and early detection of women’s health issues in Latin America. Dr. Knaul currently serves as cochair of the Lancet Commission on Cancer and Health Systems and the Lancet Commission on Gender-based Violence and Maltreatment of Young People. She lectures globally on the challenge of breast cancer in low and middle-income countries, both as a patient–advocate and health systems researcher.

Learn more as she discusses links between her own cancer journey and her work as a global cancer advocate, researcher, and thought leader.

Episode 2: Elisabete Weiderpass, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Global Cancer Conversations: Elisabete Weiderpass, MD, MSc, PhD

Dr. Elisabete Weiderpass serves as director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a dedicated United Nations agency whose mission is cancer research. IARC has been a long-standing and critical scientific partner to NCI. Dr. Weiderpass has been involved in global cancer research in her scientific career long before becoming the IARC director and talks to Dr. Satish Gopal about how her interest in global cancer first developed, being the first female IARC director, and IARC’s medium-term strategy for the next five years. 

Dr. Weiderpass is a Brazilian cancer researcher who is a naturalized Swedish and Finnish citizen. She is an expert in cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention. She took office as IARC director on January 1, 2019. Dr. Weiderpass previously served as leader of the Department of Research at the Cancer Registry of Norway, and of the Genetic Epidemiology Group at the Folkhälsan Research Center in Finland. She was a professor of medical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and a professor of cancer epidemiology at the Arctic University of Norway. She also held adjunct professorship positions in cancer epidemiology in Brazil, China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and was a visiting professor in Kuwait. She is the author of more than 700 scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals.

Episode 1: Harold Varmus, M.D.

Global Cancer Conversations: Harold Varmus, M.D.

In 2011, Dr. Harold Varmus served as the NCI director and created CGH. While global health at NCI long predates the creation of CGH and even now is not confined to CGH, this was an opportunity to develop an intentional international program to improve cancer care and cancer research throughout the world. This new center would allow NCI to play a major role in making a systematic approach to global cancer research and global cancer health. Watch now to hear more about the creation of CGH and future opportunities.

Dr. Varmus is currently the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a senior associate at the New York Genome Center. He previously was the director of the National Institutes of Health (1993–1999), president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (2000–2010), and director of NCI (2010–2015). In 1989, while on faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Varmus and J. M. Bishop won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their work on oncogenes. Dr. Varmus has also been awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society. Dr. Varmus is a cofounder of the Public Library of Science and is closely involved with numerous global health organizations.

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