Tackling the problem of cancer in the developing world

2011 Annual Report

Tackling the problem of cancer in the developing world

The planned state-of-the-art, integrated cancer training and treatment facility.

The planned state-of-the-art, integrated cancer training and treatment facility.

It’s well known that cancer has become the world’s leading cause of death, killing about 8 million people annually. What may be suprising is the fact that infectious diseases cause more than 20 percent of the world’s cancer cases.

Several common viral and bacterial infections can lead to cancers, such as stomach, liver, cervical, bladder, Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma. Because these infections can be prevented or controlled, they represent an immediate opportunity to reduce the world’s cancer burden —by preventing the development of cancer in the first place.

Kampala, Uganda, location of the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance.

Kampala, Uganda, location of the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance.

As a leader in the prevention and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases, the Hutchinson Center is uniquely suited to address this problem. By working in a country where infection-related cancers are common, our researchers and colleagues at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) are accelerating new prevention and treatment breakthroughs.

The two institutions formed an innovative collaboration—the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance—designed to make substantial inroads against infection-related cancers. The collaborators broke ground this year on an integrated research, training and treatment facility—the first comprehensive cancer center jointly constructed by U.S. and African cancer institutions.

“The UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance is a personification of the African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,’” Dr. Larry Corey, Hutchinson Center president and director, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Cancer is a disease that requires us both scientifically and medically to go far and, hence, requires us to walk together.”

“Through this collaboration, we hope to develop new, low-cost prevention and treatment strategies that will not only stem the rising burden of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa but will benefit millions of people worldwide,” he said.

The program will increase patient access to diagnostic technology and research-based treatment while furthering study on the links between infectious diseases like HIV and Epstein-Barr virus and cancers such as Kaposi sarcoma and Burkitt lymphoma.

Viral and bacterial infections are contributing factors in:

  • Lymphoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Stomach cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer