Program in Global Oncology


Young boy standing in doorway

This young boy expresses optimism in the face of Burkitt lymphoma. “Having a healthy population is essential for the fabric and stability of the nation,” said Dr. Corey Casper, co-director of the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance. “It is the Hutch’s obligation to seek the resources needed to provide care to the patients and clinical-research volunteers in Uganda. It’s also the right thing to do. There can be no greater mandate in cancer research than to wage the fight by doing the right thing.” (Photo by Rob Gipman, UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance).

Our research in Uganda focuses on the 25 percent of cancers worldwide caused by infectious agents, including Kaposi sarcoma (KS), Burkitt lymphoma (BL), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The burden of infection-related cancers is not equally distributed around the world, and Uganda has among the highest incidence of infection-associated cancers of anywhere in the world. A research team consisting of staff from both Fred Hutch and Uganda Cancer Institute seeks to understand the following fundamental questions about infection-related cancers:

  • How are infections which cause cancer acquired and transmitted?
  • What factors influence the progression from chronic infection to malignancy?
  • What is the immunologic and virologic natural history of infections which cause cancer?
  • Can diagnostic assays help identify those persons with chronic oncogenic infections who are at highest risk for cancer development?
  • Can antimicrobial therapy be used to prevent progression to malignancy or as part of adjunctive cancer care?
  • How does the epidemiology, natural history, response to treatment and survival of infection-associated cancers differ in sub-Saharan Africa from what has been observed in the US?
  • How does HIV infection affect the acquisition, transmission and natural history of viral oncogenes?