Duke Launches Global Cancer Initiative

January 28, 2014

More people die from cancer in low- and middle-income countries than in wealthier nations due to the lack of trained oncologists, clinical services and limited ability to diagnose and treat the disease early. By 2020, deaths from non-infectious diseases, like cancer, will outnumber infectious diseases. Ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4, Duke is launching the Global Cancer Initiative to mobilize the resources of Duke University to expand cancer research, education and clinical care in poor countries.

The partnership between the Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Global Health Institute will engage researchers from the university and medical center  to identify the causes of cancer around the world, effective strategies for preventing and treating the disease, palliative care and innovative uses of technology. Led by physician and DGHI faculty member Nelson Chao, with leadership from John Bartlett and Steve Patierno, the initiative will also focus on training health providers through exchange programs, developing new research projects and expanding partnerships across campus and internationally.

“Our focus initially will be to work with partners in our target countries to build capacity for robust oncology services and clinical care,” said Chao, director of the Initiative and professor of medicine, immunology, pathology and global health. “We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at Duke and global partners to help make significant strides toward improving oncology clinical care in the developing world. At the end of the day, we want to see our partners helping their own countries to fight cancer and save lives.”

Current partners in global cancer research include the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center and Bugando Medical Center in Tanzania and Tata Medical Center in Kolkata, India.  Through the initiative, plans are under way to also expand these partnerships to China and Brazil.

“We want Duke to become the leader in high-quality cancer research and clinical care in low- and middle-income countries, with emphasis on locations where we have strong existing partnerships,” said Bartlett, professor of medicine and global health at Duke Medicine and DGHI.

 Learn more about Duke’s cancer research at the Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Global Health Institute.

Get involved in Global Cancer at Duke:

  • February 20: Duke and Duke Medicine faculty and trainees interested in working in global cancer are invited to attend the next Global Cancer Working Group at 11am at Trent 124. Email for details.
  • March 11: Lunchtime seminar: “Cancer Care in India” with Mammen Chandy, director of Tata Medical Centre in Kolkata, pioneer in developing the field of hematology and bone marrow transplantation in India.
  • May 14: Global Cancer Symposium, co-sponsored by the Duke Cancer Institute and DGHI, will bring together world-renowned cancer researchers from around the world to meet with faculty from across Duke University. The event is free and open to the Duke community. 

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