Symposium Draws Global Cancer Experts from U.S. and Brazil


Nelson Chao, director of DGHI's Global Cancer Initiative, was co-chair of the Global Cancer Symposium at the Barretos Cancer Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil.

Published October 9, 2017 under Research News

On September 25-26, five Duke faculty members joined more than 50 researchers, health professionals, journalists and students from the United States and Brazil for the third annual global cancer symposium co-organized by researchers from Duke and the Barretos Cancer Hospital (BCH) in São Paulo, Brazil. This year, the symposium was held at BCH. 

The goal of the symposium was to share best practices in global cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and spur new research collaborations across institutions. Nelson Chao, professor of medicine, immunology, pathology and global health and director of the Duke Global Health Institute’s Global Cancer Initiative, co-chaired the symposium with José Humberto T. G. Fregnani, executive director of the Teaching and Research Institute at BCH.

The symposium drew presenters from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen Foundation, State of São Paulo Cancer Institute and other Brazilian and American organizations and institutions. Topics ranged from capacity building to pediatric cancer to palliative care and more. Duke presenters included:

  • John Bartlett – Developing Global Cancer Programs
  • Sandeep Dave – Using Technology to Leapfrog Resource Constraints in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer
  • Megan Jordan – The Future of Palliative Care
  • Kristin Schroeder – Barriers for Pediatric Oncology in Tanzania

“This year’s symposium brought to light many new ideas and innovative approaches to addressing global cancer challenges,” Chao reflected. “We’re eager to expand our global cancer initiative at Duke, and the exchange of ideas at the symposium will help us jumpstart this growth both at Duke and internationally. We’re excited about potential new projects and collaborations that started to surface at the symposium.” 

Duke and BCH have had an established partnership since 2015 that has focused on building research capacity at BCH. Medical oncology fellow Laura Musselwhite spent the last year at BCH, where she helped the hospital establish standard operating procedures and jointly secured grant funding on several projects, including a Grand Challenges Exploration grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a novel cervical cancer home-based screening and reporting system.

“Barretos Cancer Hospital has an impressive facility that serves a huge number of patients, and they deliver excellent care,” said Chao. “But they also have tremendous potential to be recognized internationally as leaders in global cancer by strengthening their research portfolio. We’re hoping to help them build that capacity.” 

Future potential Duke-BCH collaborative global cancer projects on the horizon include laboratory-based clinical trials, an educational exchange program and development of other novel cervical cancer screening tests. 

Learn more about DGHI’s Global Cancer Initiative.

We’re excited about potential new projects and collaborations that started to surface at the symposium.

Nelson Chao, director of DGHI’s Global Cancer Initiative