Global Oncology

Advancing Science to Address the Burden of Cancer in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Cancer is an increasingly urgent global health issue. By 2030, the global cancer burden is projected to grow by 70 percent, and more than two-thirds of cancer deaths are occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Yet only 2 percent of health funding in these countries is directed toward cancer and other noncommunicable diseases. Many of the highest-burden cancers in these regions are associated with infectious diseases, including HIV, human papillomavirus and viral hepatitis.

Fred Hutch has a growing cross-divisional Global Oncology program that investigates globally relevant cancers and seeks to understand the varied genetics and biology of common cancers around the world. We aim to develop high-impact, low-cost diagnostic tools and therapies that can be used in low-resource settings worldwide.

Our Priorities

  • Research
  • Training
  • More (0)

An Expanding Research Focus

Global Oncology is a collaborative research program whose core activities are based in Uganda, through a longstanding partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute. We are expanding our research to better understand, diagnose and treat infection-related and other high-burden cancers in low- and middle-income countries and to develop new immunotherapies. Current research includes defining the molecular profile of breast cancer and conducting a clinical trial that delivers rituximab subcutaneously to treat lymphoma. In China, our collaborative research studies focus on prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of gastric and other cancers and infectious diseases. Global Oncology facilitates research partnerships between Fred Hutch and Chinese collaborators.

Training African Oncology Providers

Through our partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute, we are helping to train Ugandan oncologists, nurses and scientists through fellowships supported by the National Institutes of Health, the African Development Bank and private contributions. Since 2004, we have provided long-term training to 14 Ugandan physician-scientists in Seattle and Kampala and have provided extensive research and clinical training opportunities in Uganda. Our training efforts also support clinical care capacity at the UCI, for instance through a weekly lymphoma tumor board led by Dr. Edus H. Warren and Ugandan physician-scientist Dr. Abrahams Omoding, a monthly UCI-Fred Hutch joint clinical case conference, and a nursing oncology program led by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Research Highlights

Microscopic slide of cancer

Cervical Cancer

Microscopic slide of tumor

Breast Cancer

Researchers studying test tubes

Kaposi Sarcoma

Breast Cancer

In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than half of people diagnosed with breast cancer live beyond five years, compared with almost 90 percent in the United States. We are testing a diagnostic tool that is widely available in Africa to assess its performance in determining a tumor’s hormone receptor status and other characteristics that can guide treatment. We will study the feasibility of a three-drug chemotherapy regimen that can be given orally rather than intravenously. In addition, we are using genetic sequencing to look for mutations that may explain why breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa tends to strike younger women and be especially aggressive — characteristics also seen in breast cancer in African-American women.

pull quote photo

“Our mission is to conduct cancer research that has global impact and to help develop research capacity and improve clinical care to address the cancer burden in low- and middle-income countries.”

— Dr. Edus Warren, Program Head, Global Oncology

Dr. Edus H. Warren and Dr. Thomas Uldrick.

Our Leadership

Global Oncology is led by Dr. Edus H. Warren, an oncologist and researcher specializing in blood cancers and cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Thomas Uldrick, a hematologist and oncologist with expertise in pathogen-associated malignancies, is the deputy program head. Dr. Warren Phipps, the medical director for the UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration, focuses on HIV-associated malignancies and is based in Kampala, Uganda, at the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre.

Researchers at the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre histopathology lab.

Our Faculty

Global Oncology currently includes four faculty members and several affiliate faculty who are based at Fred Hutch and/or the University of Washington. Global Oncology plans to expand its faculty membership and build more research collaborations across Fred Hutch and beyond.

FY2020 Annual Report

Advancing Scientific Research and Training

Read highlights of Global Oncology’s FY20 accomplishments including the collaborative launch of two new clinical trials in Uganda focused on breast cancer and lymphoma, and the inaugural cohort of the Adult Hematology-Oncology Fellowship completed their first year. Plus learn about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Contact Global Oncology

Phone: 206.667.4600
Work Location: Arnold Building, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109-1024