In 2010, MSK partnered with Obafemi Awolowo University Hospital (OAU) in Nigeria and identified colorectal cancer as a cancer priority in the country. Drs. Kingham and Isaac Alatise from OAU founded the African Research Group for Oncology, or ARGO in 2013. This NCI-recognized consortium, that now numbers 26 hospitals, and MSK was awarded one of the first pilot grants from the National Cancer Institute’s new Center for Global Health. The formation of ARGO has created a team of surgeons, pathologists, medical oncologists, nurses, epidemiologists, and radiologists who work together to treat patients with cancer in the United States and Nigeria. The consortium now includes 26 institutions across Nigeria and is supported by multiple NIH grants. In 2015 ARGO expanded to include breast cancer as a focus of the Consortium. MSK and ARGO have hosted five cancer symposia in Nigeria, an annual event that brings together MSK staff and more than 100 of West Africa’s top physicians to discuss new cancer management techniques, research breakthroughs, and future cancer-related studies in Nigeria. On-going studies may be found under research.
GCDI has multiple collaborative partnerships in Kenya focused on education, clinical care, and research in breast cancer imaging and diagnosis. In partnership with Dr. Rose Ndumia, breast radiologist and Breast Imaging Section Head at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, and funded by an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conquer Cancer International Innovation Grant, we are investigating the diagnostic performance of breast ultrasound artificial intelligence to provide clinical decision-making support. This work is synergistic with Dr. Mango’s role as Director of the RAD-AID Kenya program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous educational sessions have been provided via online platforms and will continue remotely and in person in 2022.
GCDI has ongoing pathology research collaborations and capacity building initiatives in Tanzania. At Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dr. Edda Vuhahula, senior lecturer in the Department of Pathology, is working with Dr. Dianna Ng to evaluate the implementation of a near-point-of-care assay to determine breast cancer biomarker status on fine needle aspiration biopsy specimens, which is currently supported by a K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award. With Dr. Ng as a part of their mentorship teams, Dr. Asteria Kimambo, Dr. Atuganile Malango, and Dr. Caroline Ngimba have been the recipients of the GloCal Health Fellowship, a mentored research fellowship funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their projects explore the potential use of new technologies, such as molecular testing and digital pathology, to target gaps in diagnosis for a range of cancers. Recently, Dr. Alex Mremi, the Head of the Department of Pathology at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, and Dr. Ng have been working on projects to improve synoptic tumor reporting and immunohistochemistry for breast cancer.