Photo by Robert Hood/Fred Hutch
In Uganda, where the fight against cancer once seemed unwinnable, there is now hope. A decade ago, we formed a unique partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), which was, and still is, the only comprehensive cancer facility in a country of more than 37 million people. With our Ugandan partners, we have built a world-class facility for research, training and patient care on the UCI campus in Kampala — UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre opened in May 2015 — the first comprehensive cancer center jointly built by U.S. and African Cancer institutions in the sub-Saharan Africa.
The UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance unites our expertise in leading large studies of cancer and infectious diseases with the UCI's long history of achievement, including the first description of infection-related cancer and the first use of combination chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
More than 60 percent of all cancers in Uganda are caused by infectious diseases, making the country an ideal place to make meaningful advances against those cancers. Our research in Uganda will lead to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment worldwide, including the United States.
Cancer is a growing health issue in low- and middle- income countries. A few areas of our research focus are to understand how infectious diseases lead to cancer, develop new therapies that are more effective and less toxic, and study the role of HIV in cancer.
From one trained oncologist in 2004 to 12. A training program started in 2004 has led to the training of more Ugandan physicans and scientists. Today, Fred Hutch and Ugandan clinicians participate in regular seminars, working groups and an annual symposium.
To date, we have conducted nearly 30 research studies that have involved more than 7,000 participants in Uganda. One of those studies resulted in a new blood test to diagnose Epstein-Barr infection and determine whether patients are at higher risk of lymphoma as a result of that infection.