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United States-Latin America Cancer Research Network (US-LA CRN)

We support cancer research through our unique approach to forming international scientific partnerships. In creating collaborative relationships across Latin America for international cancer research, we successfully engage at the government-to-government, and investigator levels to build a sustainable partnership that will enable the co-development and in-country sustainability of cancer research.

The US–LA CRN was established in 2009 to increase cancer research capacity in Latin America. NCI formalized bilateral agreements with the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay to facilitate interactions at the government, institution, and investigator levels.

In 2011, the US–LA CRN launched a breast cancer research study entitled "Molecular Profiling of Stage II and III Breast Cancer in Latin American Women Receiving Standard of Care Treatment" (MPBC). Participating US-LA CRN investigators are studying the molecular profile distribution of invasive stage II and III breast cancers among Latin American women to improve diagnosis and treatment, correlate molecular subtypes with long-term survival and response to therapy, and identify indolent-disease subpopulations of cancer patients.

Some of the unique features of this collaborative study include:

  • Harmonizing procedures
  • Building biobanks to manage biospecimens from across the clinical sites
  • Establishing a bioinformatics platform to capture clinical data and specimen characteristics
  • Implementing a comprehensive study monitoring plan to ensure specimen and data integrity
  • Producing a manual of operations in English, Spanish, and Portuguese
  • Convening training workshops to standardize procedures and advanced technologies that lead to best practices
  • Developing an epidemiology questionnaire to correlate with clinical annotation

The MPBC is changing clinical practice and improving breast cancer management in Latin America, and it is providing a better understanding of the disease both in Latin America and in the United States.

The US–LA CRN is looking forward to developing new cancer research studies and forging new partnerships with the NCI in the coming year.

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