‘€œThere is an urgent need for new transnational collaborations to tackle these issues and it is our hope these will be established this coming weekend in London,’€ said a statement by the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC).

Cancer already causes more deaths each year worldwide than HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined. By 2020 there are expected to be 15 million new cases of cancer every year, 70 percent of which will be in developing countries. Africa will account for over a million new cancer cases a year, and is least able to cope in terms of health infrastructure.

‘€œThe global response to cancer in Africa will not only require the implementation of effective and affordable cancer control programmes, but it will also require locally relevant research. Research and the support for research are key element to any plan for cancer control, the genesis of new knowledge to improve our understanding of cancer biology, other risk factors for cancer, dissemination of new ideas and the delivery of better cancer care.   This requires a multi-disciplinary effort which we hope to achieve by bringing together oncologists, researchers, policy makers and activists from Africa, Brazil, Europe and the USA to share their experiences and collective knowledge.   There is no doubt that the global community of cancer researchers will benefit from collaborating with our African colleagues, if we can find an appropriate and sustainable model to support clinical and translational research to the benefit of African patients,’€ reads the stament.

To begin addressing the challenge, Africa Oxford Cancer Foundation (AfrOx), AORTIC, National Cancer Institute USA, National Cancer Institute (InCa Brazil) and National Cancer Institute (InCa France) have organised a two-day conference to be held at the British Medical Association in London on 15 and 16 September 2012.  

The Conference will address the following issues:

  • Importance of Cancer Research for Development in Africa
  • Best Practices in Research Collaborations
  • Empowering Patient Perspective in Research
  • The Role of Industry to Drive Research Forward
  • Economics and Non Communicable Diseases
  • Models of Sustainable Funding for Cancer Research in Africa
  • How Do We Construct An Ethical Framework for Cancer Research in Africa?
  • Developing an African Cancer Action Plan

More than 100 delegates will be attending, including world leaders from the fields of oncology, research, NGO’€™s and the pharmaceutical industry.

‘€œPeople don’€™t perceive cancer as a developing-world problem, but more than 70 percent of all cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries,’€ says Professor David Kerr of Oxford University and AfrOx. ‘€œThis figure is rising due to increased life expectancy, increased tobacco use and chronic viral infection. Survival rates for cancer in the developing world are often less than half those of more developed countries, and there is little pain relief. In Africa, cancer is a sentence to a painful and distressing death.   More research is needed to understand the biology of cancer in Africa, and how we can develop cost effective treatments that can make a difference.’€

Alan Milburn Chairman of AfrOx says: ‘€œCancer is no longer a disease of the developed world: it will soon become the newest epidemic in the developing world. Africa will be particularly hard hit because it lacks the basic infrastructure to cope with a big growth in cancer in the years to come. If we can pool expertise and resources we can save tens of thousands of lives.’€

‘€œAddressing the cancer challenge in Africa requires a strategic partnership that calls for new orientation, critical thinking, investment and plan of action,” said AORTIC President, Professor Isaac Adewole.

Source: African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC)