Ms Julyanti Agustina works at the cancer registry at the Dharmais National Cancer Centre (NCC), Jakarta, Indonesia since 2010.
In 2013, Ms Agustina travelled to the National Cancer Centre in Tokyo, Japan, to complete a UICC fellowship. The head of Dharmais Cancer Registry Division (Dr Evlina Suzanna) suggested her to apply the UICC fellowship to upgrade knowledge about Cancer Registry in Japan. She wanted to learn about national cancer registry implementation, data collection and data analysis...
Sokhna Ndiaye is a psychotherapist, who trained in the United States before returning to her birthplace of Senegal to work in both psychiatric and clinical settings. Currently, she manages the Psychological Support Programme in the Paediatric Oncology Unit at University Hospital Aristide Le Dantec...
For more than ten years, Philip Ouma has worked as a clinical psycho-oncologist. He works at the Faraja Cancer Support Trust in Nairobi, Kenya.
He completed a UICC fellowship at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, New York in 2014 where he learned about psychosocial skills and programs that could be brought back and implemented in Kenya.
Mr Ouma said, “The fellowship has been a turning point in my work with cancer patients. I feel more empowered and inspired in my work in Kenya and Africa.”
Dr Michal Chovanec currently works as a clinical oncologist at the National Cancer Institute of Slovakia, where each year he generally treats around 300 newly diagnosed patients and survivors suffering from testicular germ cell tumours (TGCT).
In 2015, Dr Chovanec completed a UICC fellowship on clinical and translational research in TGCT at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in the United States, one of the leading centres in testicular cancer treatment and research, under the supervision of Professor Lawrence Einhorn...
Pradnya Sri Rahayu Irvin has been working as a biostatistician for the Cancer Registry Division of the Dharmais National Cancer Centre in Indonesia for the past nine years under supervision from Evlina Suzanna, MD, Path.
In 2012, she completed a UICC fellowship with Dr Rajesh Dikshit at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India in order to learn how they have conducted population-based cancer registries (PBCRs) in both urban and rural areas...
Dr Warren Bacorro works at the UICC member organisation, Benavides Cancer Institute, University of Santo Tomas Hospital, Manila, Philippines. He went on a clinical and research fellowship in brachytherapy at the University of California in Los Angeles, USA in July 2014.
Dr Bacorro said, "At UCLA, I got acquainted with brachytherapy applications in different cancer sites, identified requirements for personnel training, radiation safety, and materials and logistics, and evaluated the feasibility of expanding applications given the current state of oncology practice in our country."
Dr Nalini Bansal works at Fortis Hospital and SRL Diagnostics, New Delhi, India and went on a one month fellowship visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK in June 2018 where she investigated the pathology of liver injury in cancer patients due to adverse effects if immune check point blockage therapy.
We often get asked a question from our members and other organisations working in cancer control: How can we become more engaged internationally?
For UICC fostering international collaboration is about accelerating action at all levels, increasing the reach of initiatives and resources, making sure that we build on each other’s work rather than duplicating efforts, creating networks of peer to peer support.
Dr Rajan Duggal, Senior Consultant Histopathologist from Medanta - The Medicity Hospital, Gurgaon, Haryana, India carried out an ICRETT Fellowship in June 2016 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA, supported by the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Epstein he studied immunohistochemical techniques in the diagnosis of poorly differentiated genitourinary malignancies.
“I am practicing histopathology and nephropathologist for last 9 years and was interested in learning uropathology. The UICC-ICRETT fellowship gave me the opportunity to learn uropathology from world expert Prof. Jonathan Epstein. I learned a lot during this short stay and also conducted a small study on poorly differentiated genitourinary malignancies where exact tumor origin (prostate/urinary bladder/gastrointestinal tract) needs to be determined.
After concluding this study I realized that there are two prostate specific immunohistochemical markers (NKX3.1 and P501S) which are useful in determining prostatic origin of the tumor. In my home institute we were using basic markers (i.e. PSA, CK7, CK20) and not using these specific markers and must be misdiagnosing these cases. Utilisation of these specific markers will help in the early diagnosis and early institution of therapy in poorly differentiated malignancies. When there is doubt about prostatic primary diagnosis, a combined panel of all three markers (PSA, NKX3.1 and P501S) should be utilized to minimize false negative immunoreactivity and to increase sensitivity for detecting prostatic origin. I again want to thank UICC for supporting me in this and I will surely be able to implement these skills and education in my home country.”
Mr Mohamed Khalis, research assistant at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine of Fez, Morocco carried out an ICRETT fellowship in May 2016 at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France. Under the supervision of Dr Véronique Chajès he studied the relationship between breast cancer and dietary factors among Moroccan women.
Mr Khalis shares the following on his experience:
"My internship at IARC was focused on the identification of dietary factors associated with breast cancer risk in Morocco. This project relied on an existing case-control study set up in Fez, Morocco, and dietary/nutritional data were available. These data will be the first one showing the impact of nutrition and lifestyle in breast cancer risk in Morocco and will be useful to develop strategies targeted on nutritional prevention of breast cancer in Morocco.
During my fellowship at IARC, I gained experience in evaluating the association between cancer and dietary factors and I developed skills in analysis and interpretation of dietary data, as well as in the use of statistical methods used for this type of analysis. My internship with the Nutritional Epidemiology Group (NEP) at IARC was very useful and enriching, as I received an appropriate training, support and excellent follow-up. The quality of the personnel and management in that group was determinant to achieving my goals.
Since my return from IARC, and in order to share my expertise, I started a series of individual and group training for the benefit of team members in my home Institution. Especially I set up working groups on dietary exposure and other types of cancer; in particular colorectal cancer for which a large casecontrol study on national scale has been launched using the same FFQ as in our study. Generally, the experience acquired during my fellowship will be very important for the development of our research laboratory and for the transmission of knowledge to other scientists in other laboratories in Morocco.
I would like to thank the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) for supporting me in this project and giving me this tremendous opportunity. I would also like to thank all the members and staff of Nutritional Epidemiology Group at IARC for their wonderful support and excellent supervision; particularly Dr Véronique Chajès, Dr Isabelle Romieu, Dr Sabina Rinaldi, Dr Aurelie Moskal, Dr Inge Huybrechts, Dr Carine Biessy and Dr Laure Dossus."
“My project “Anti-cancer efficacy of anti-PD-L2 antibody” goes well until now. It is a big project, which needs a lot of researchers to cooperate together. In the last 3 months, I have just tested the expression of PDL1 and PD-L2 in over 50 cancer cell lines to make sure that which types of cancer are related to PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression tightly. We want to generate some mouse cell lines with high expression of PD-L1 and PDL2 now, and then, we will make mouse model, and test the anti-cancer efficacy of anti-PD-L1 and PD-L2 antibodies in vivo.
My mentor Dr Curran is a very nice person. He discusses the project with me and teaches me how to do the experiments, how to run the machine and how to analyze the data. The colleagues in our lab are also very nice. I hope I can learn more in the future, and of course, I hope I can complete the project within one year. I really appreciate that I have such good and happy experience in M.D. Anderson.”
Ms Nina Nerissa Sumpaico-Jose is Deputy Manager at the Kythe Foundation, a non-profit organisation in the Philippines providing psycho-social care to children with cancer and their families through the Child Life Program (CLP). She received a 2014 APCASOT Fellowship to Cancer Council Queensland Project Title: Advocacy-psycho-social interventions to children with cancer and their families
“I’ve worked with Kythe for ten years and have always been interested in pursuing opportunities that help me gain fresh perspectives with a view to enrich and improve our programs. The APCASOT Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to meet new people and learn from the experiences of other organisations working towards a similar purpose.
The training at Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) was eye-opening. It was amazing how many resources were available to people living with cancer in Queensland and it was apparent that a supportive community is crucial in doing cancer advocacy work. Creating a supportive environment on a multi-level scale is the key to bringing about change that improves lives and one of the reasons CCQ has succeeded in moving forward is a strategic mindset of having directed and focused efforts, whilst at the same time allowing for space and opportunities for change and learning.
Another valuable gain from the APCASOT Fellowship was that despite the difference in context and resources, the training was an affirmation of the work I currently do. Seeing what CCQ has achieved gives me hope for Kythe, knowing that it too can continue to contribute and innovate for many years to come. The training identified gaps that need to be addressed and bridged in order to improve the way cancer advocacy is done in the Philippines.
As an APCASOT Fellow, I realised it is in the sharing of knowledge that the learning process is enriched, making the whole experience dynamic, interesting and inspiring.”
Dr Ama Kyerewaa Edwin of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana carried out an ICRETT Fellowship in 2014 at Capital Hospice in Virginia, USA, studying palliative care.
"The first thing that stood out for me on my first inpatient consult with the palliative care attending is how she introduced herself: I am doctor X, a doctor of pain and symptom management, also known as palliative care. That resonated well with me because often times in my practice as a palliative care practitioner, colleagues and patients are sometimes uncomfortable in seeing a palliative care provider. With this simple but powerful introduction, I am Dr. Ama Edwin, a doctor of pain and symptom management, also known as palliative care. What patients and family members remember after such an introduction is that I am there to help them.
I took part in daily inpatient consultations as well as a weekly outpatient clinic. Frequently, consults involved helping patients and families with successful transitions of care goals. This was a skill I was very interested in learning because helping patients and families come to terms with the terminal nature of the patient’s condition and helping them with transition of care has been a real struggle for our palliative care team in Ghana. The challenges faced by the palliative care practitioners I shadowed are similar to those we face in Ghana. The main difficulty for the outpatient clinics were patients not turning up for their appointments while the main difficulty for inpatient consultations were late referrals and “opiophobia” among medical practitioners. Interdisciplinary team meetings were essential in updating the various members of the patient’s care team on the patient’s state and progress.
My time spent at Capital Caring was a very productive one. I was privileged to work with physicians who are dedicated, professional and genuinely love what they do. I have also acquired transferable skills such as assessing patients effectively and controlling intractable symptoms while giving patients and families as much control and decision-making power as they desire and are able to accept in the face of their challenges. As a physician, a clinical psychologist and a bioethicist, I have learnt how to effectively integrate the clinical, psychological and spiritual aspects of care in a patient and family centred manner."
In 2013, Dr Parisa Karimi from Iran carried out an ACSBI fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University in the United States on the role of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Ingestion as a Risk Factor for Esophageal Cancer.
"Esophageal cancer (EC), the 3rd most common cancer in Iran, has a poor prognosis. In fact, north-eastern Iran has the highest prevalence of EC in the world, and understanding the risk factors is a significant challenge. As a cancer researcher and clinician, I witness patients’ suffer from this disease so chose it as the focus of my ACSBI fellowship. The samples for this project are provided from the Golestan Cohort Study of esophageal cancer, which is an ongoing study in north-eastern Iran that started in December 2003. When an outcome (cancer or death) is identified, the follow-up team visits the subject/family and collects samples and detailed information of that case. These are analysed for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) level, one the most significant risk factors of esophageal cancer. The experiments conducting in this project, including immuno-affinity chromatography and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS), are not currently available at such an advanced level in Iran. The ACSBI fellowship provides me a great opportunity to learn these lab techniques in order to perform them in Iran.
During my time I have also learnt about EC in other regions, like Kenya, and have been able to meet with distinguished scientists, learn from their experiences and get their ideas about my work. The program has given me a rich experience to share with my colleagues and has been even more fruitful than I imagined at the beginning.
There are many successful stories in Iran about scientists who returned from programs abroad to set up a new branch of research. Basic research especially in EC is at the early stages in my country so learning about recent breakthroughs is crucial and could help improve our patients’ treatment, too.
I would like to thank the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) for giving me this tremendous opportunity, and my mentor, Dr Paul Strickland, of Johns Hopkins University, for his kind support during the ACSBI fellowship."
Awarded ICRETT fellowship in 2004 (Host institute: Universitätsklinikum Bonn, Germany) and again in 2008 (Host Institute: Zentralklinik Bad Berka, Germany)
Dr Baljinder Singh is a professor at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, India. He completed two ICRETT fellowships in Germany, in 2004 and 2008.
Mobility, gaining experience, understanding of wider scientific issues and learning key technology skills are known to be keys to the development of the most successful scientists. The UICC ICRETT scheme provides this opportunity by removing barriers and local restrictions to technology transfer allowing the appropriate and best alliances to be formed. In 2004, Dr Baljinder Singh, an Additional Professor at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in India, carried out his first ICRETT entitled “Sentinel node imaging and PET-CT in malignant melanoma” at the Universitätsklinikum Bonn in Germany. His second ICRETT was carried out in 2008, entitled “Evaluation of receptor PET/CT using 68Ga-labelled somatostatin analogues for pre-therapeutic evaluation of tumour dosimetry in patients with Neuroendocrine tumours undergoing PRRT therapy” at the Zentralklinik Bad Berka, Germany.
Dr Singh’s prior experience in the domain of cancer research was qualified as about 50%. He rates his experience in his fellowship in terms of skills and knowledge to be significant. The fellowships significantly addressed his training needs and helped him to achieve his goals. At least 8 publications have resulted from and relating to his fellowship. His training in PET–CT Molecular Imaging in Ca Lung, Lymphoma and infection imaging has greatly helped him in establishing this ‘state of the art’ facility for better diagnosis and management of the cancer patients in terms of early diagnosis and treatment response monitoring and the impact is the improvement of patient cancer management for the large number of patients seen.
Dr Singh’s ICRETT enabled him to submit a research proposal for creation of a Pre-clinical Molecular Imaging facility for Drug Development to the Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India for a proposed budget of about US $ 3.5 million for setting up this facility. A collaboration with both his previous German host supervisors has been established with the organization of an Indo German workshop in radionuclide therapy for treatment of cancer. Prof. HJ Biersack (his ICRETT host in 2004) visited his Centre in April, 2010 at PGI Chandigarh along with Dr. Torsten Fischer, the Director of DFG India to establish this future bilateral research collaboration, mainly in the area of Radionuclide therapy in various malignancies, between the two countries. Invited to this workshop were about 8-9 experts from Germany, 6-8 from third party countries (outside Germany and India) and about 8 from India. The German Research Foundation (DFG) was the sponsor for this workshop and the prospective research collaboration. "All these developments I owe to the International Union Against Cancer who provided me the initial chance to go and work in Germany with great giants in Nuclear Medicine (Prof. HJ Biersack-Bonn and Prof. RP Baum-Bad Berka)."
In our view the above mentioned information is a measure of success and confirms the value of the ICRETT programme. We would like to thank our sponsors once again for their ongoing belief and support of UICC ICRETT fellowships which we believe are important and impact on cancer the world’s cancer burden.
Awarded ICRETT fellowships in 2005 (Host Institute: National Institute of Health, Bethesda, USA) and in 2008 (Host Institute: Bristol Dental Hospital and School, UK)
Professor Dr. Cheong Sok Ching is group leader of the oral cancer team at Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), Malaysia and adjunct professor in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Malaya, Malaysia. He completed two ICRETT fellowships in 2005 and 2008, in the US and UK respectively.
Globally, oral cancer affects about 300,000 individuals, and more than half of the world’s oral cancer cases occur in Asia. In Malaysia, 2 new cases are diagnosed daily. The 5 year survival rate of oral cancer patients in most parts of the world remains about 50% underscoring the urgent need for better treatment of the disease.
My group’s research focuses on understanding the genetic changes in oral cancer with the aim of developing new treatments for this disease. To achieve this, we first identified genes that are responsible for driving oral cancer, and to understand how these genes drive cancer development, we developed in vitro models to study the function of these genes. In 2005, expertise on the analysis of microarray data was limited in Malaysia and I was fortunate to receive a UICC/ICRETT fellowship to undergo training with Dr. J. Silvio Gutkind, whose laboratory was conducting gene expression analysis using microarrays. Working together, we identified genes that were differentially expressed between oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and normal oral mucosa tissues.
We further demonstrated for the first time in oral cancer that global gene expression changes were influenced by aetiological factors, indicating that these need to be taken into consideration when designing molecular therapeutics for cancer. Following the identification of putative oral cancer genes, my group demonstrated that some of these genes were found to be exclusively expressed in oral cancer cells making them potential targets for drug development. We used oral cancer cell lines that were previously developed in our laboratory to study how these genes conferred a survival advantage to cancer cells. During this time, I was fortunate again, to receive a second UICC/ICRETT fellowship to work with Professor Stephen Prime at the University of Bristol. Professor Prime is a pioneer in the development of oral cancer cell lines, and working with him, we were able to use our cell lines to develop organotypic co-cultures to determine if the genes we have identified increase the invasion potential of cancer cells.
As a result of these 2 fellowships, I was able to progress in my research through the transfer of technology where these techniques were used successfully to identify important genes in oral cancer and to determine their role in oral cancer. Notably, these techniques are currently used by other Malaysian scientists and students through training workshops conducted by my group in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia. More importantly, through the opportunities to interact with the host institutions, I was able to develop and maintained strong international collaborations with several key researchers in the field of oral cancer research. We still collaborate actively with both laboratories, with Dr. J. S. Gutkind, we are using the cell lines established at CARIF to develop in vivo models for oral cancer, and with Professor Stephen Prime, we are initiating a project to understand the genetic mechanisms underlying malignant transformation.
Through the UICC fellowships, I realised that we have a lot to gain by working together to win the fight against cancer. Each individual has a significant role to play and I am very grateful that UICC contributes significantly in connecting these individuals from all over the world. I have benefitted significantly from the opportunities provided by UICC and thank the contributors who support the UICC.
Publications resulted from these fellowships and collaborations:
Dr Rengaswamy Sankaranarayan is Head of the Early Detection & Prevention Group (EDP) and Screening Group (SCR) at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO-IARC) in Lyon, France
I consider UICC fellowships in general, and ICRETT fellowships in particular, are the most efficient and most effective cancer fellowships in the world. I was an ICRETT fellow in 1984 studying methods of appropriate collection, documentation and use of clinical, epidemiological, social and demographic data of cancer patients focusing on the role of accurate and complete cancer medical case records, medical records departments and cancer registries in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center under the supervision of Dr Calvin Zippin. This exposure and training made an important contribution in refining my clinical oncology practice as well as in catalyzing my future clinical and epidemiological research interests and efforts. The skills acquired through my ICRETT fellowship, the new training opportunities opened up by the ICRETT experience, the collaboration that I developed with colleagues at my host institution UCSF and the immense opportunities in cancer prevention and control provided by my home institute, the Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum, India, under the mentorship of Dr Krishnan Nair and the Kerala state cancer control programme and the support by my family provided me the opportunities and possibilities to develop an effective cancer control research programme encompassing both clinical and epidemiological studies in the state of Kerala, India, through the 80s and early 90s. The clinical and epidemiological experience and the close interaction that I had with cancer health services and the national cancer control programme of India in general and Kerala state in particular, provided me the necessary skills and an unique opportunity to work for the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO-IARC) since April 1993 where I could apply what I learned through the UICC fellowship and the national exposure in India in a worldwide context, focusing on cancer prevention, early detection and cancer control in low-and medium income countries (LMICs).
The insight provided and opportunities catalyzed by the UICC ICRETT fellowship for my own evolution in the domain of cancer prevention and control research and the enormous promise and potential that the UICC fellowships have for training a wide range of personnel for accelerating the progress of cancer research, prevention and control in LMICs and the excellent training platform and the world wide collaborative opportunities provided by the IARC motivated me to encourage potential candidates consisting of doctors, nurses, health workers, health care managers, administrators, social workers, behavioural scientists and statisticians from LMICs to seek UICC fellowship opportunities to get trained in a range of general topics such as cancer early detection, screening, cancer registration methods and applications, analysis and interpretation of cancer intervention studies, cancer survival studies, cancer epidemiology, design and analysis of epidemiological studies, cancer prevention and control and specific areas such as cervical cancer screening techniques, oral cancer early detection, breast cancer early detection, colposcopy and management of cervical precancerous lesions with ablative and excisional techniques among other areas that IARC programme can support. This motivation has culminated in my hosting anywhere between 4 to 8 UICC fellows from LMICs annually in IARC with co-hosting in other suitable institutions (such as cancer centers, cancer registries, national screening programmes) since 1995. This has been a fantastic learning experience for me and has opened up several new collaborative opportunities in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America for me and my colleagues in IARC. We have used every opportunity to publicize and educate on the fantastic opportunities provided by the UICC fellowships in strengthening professional skills for a wide range of personnel in cancer research including basic, preclinical, clinical, epidemiologic and psychosocial, behavioral research, cancer prevention and control in order to create a wider awareness on these fellowships, to improve national capacities in LMICs in these domains and to reduce the huge disparity between developed and developing countries in cancer research and control capacities.
As a result of hosting UICC fellows, we have developed new collaborative cancer research initiatives in early detection and screening of cervical, breast, oral and colorectal cancers, cancer survival studies and early detection training initiatives in several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some of the UICC fellows trained by us have evolved as national leaders in cancer control and prevention and many are contributing to strengthening cancer research and control capacities nationally and regionally through mounting cardinal research and service projects, screening and early detection programmes, information collection and dissemination, education and training in a variety of cancer related topics. This has led to a cascading effect of further awareness and knowledge on the scope and application of UICC fellowships in creating future leaders in cancer research in and around the world, in facilitating a global effort culminating in rapid dissemination of new knowledge and technology, to acquire appropriate clinical management, diagnostic and therapeutic expertise for effective application and in developing and sharing of best practices in cancer prevention and control in the national setting. The UICC training fellowships have made a unique and measurable contribution to advancing cancer research and control throughout the world in general and LMICs in particular. On a personal note, I am very proud to be associated with the UICC fellowships and very much appreciate the opportunity having availed an UICC ICRETT fellowship and for hosting UICC fellows.
The National Orthopaedic Hospital Lagos is a 425 -bed orthopaedic and trauma care hospital in Nigeria. In 1998, our hospital had no histopathologist and there was difficulty in confirming clinical suspicions of malignancy with attendant loss of morbidity and mortality data of musculoskeletal tumours. From 1998 - 2005, three clinicians from our hospital received UICC ICRETT Fellowships for training in early detection, diagnosis and surgical management of musculoskeletal tumours at the Karolinska Hospital Stockholm Sweden and at the University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
The fellowships allowed us to extend our fine needle aspiration service to patients with bone tumours as well as set up an orthopaedic oncology unit which became the referral centre for musculoskeletal tumours in the South West Zone of the country. With the support of our hospital we were able to achieve enhanced capacity for radiological diagnosis of bone tumours; more cost effective preoperative evaluation of patients by fine needle aspiration cytology; improved patient care and reduction in waiting times before definitive surgery and introduction of reconstructive tumour surgery. We were also able to increase exposure of resident doctors to enhanced training in orthopaedic oncology and increase research output of terms of scientific conference presentations and peer reviewed publications.
Two of the fellows have now moved to Universities within the country where they are involved in training future generations of medical students and resident doctors. They are still actively involved in research collaborations with colleagues at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Lagos including publishing a Manual of Bone and Soft Tissue Tumours of the Extremeties Perspectives from Resource Poor Settings in November 2013.
In 2013, two of the fellows were selected to attend the AORTIC Africa Cancer Leaders Institute in Durban South Africa.
Our experience shows that transfer of skills and technology and education of professionals from developing countries through short periods of training in centres of excellence abroad is a sustainable model with high impact for global cancer control which also addresses the problem of brain drain. Even greater international collaboration and support is needed if global goals for reduction in cancer morbidity and mortality are to be achieved.
This article was first published in the Capacity Building newsletter in 2013.
Abdallah Sherif Radwan Mohamed, MD., M.Sc, is Assistant Lecturer of Clinical Oncology at the Alexandria Clinical Oncology department of Alexandria University. He was awarded an ACSBI fellowship in 2012 and is currently conducting is fellowship at the Radiation Oncology Department, MD Anderson Center, Houston, TX, USA. The title of his research project is ‘Patterns of failure in the era of IMRT for head and neck cancer: Quantitative dose mapping using software image coregistration.’
My ultimate goal is to participate as much as I can in improving the radiation oncology practice in Egypt especially in my institution "Alexandria Clinical Oncology Department, University of Alexandria" through being exposed to the best schools of radiation oncology, worldwide. With regards to this specific research project, my objective is to determine the patterns of failure in head and neck cancer patients receiving definitive, concurrent chemo-or neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy with IMRT technique relative to specified target volumes using post-recurrence imaging co-registered to the delivered treatment plan. In addition to this research objective, I also plan to attend clinical activities such as consultations, treatment planning and follow-ups under the supervision of an attending physician, in addition to attending multidisciplinary and departmental conferences and lectures.
In Egypt, although we face a big and increasing problem of Head and Neck Cancer related mortality, we lack the exposure to these recent techniques of Radiotherapy in addition to properly designed clinical research studies to address this point. In addition to the lack the experienced staff that could utilise these modern techniques of radiotherapy in order to give the best care to the poor cancer patient presented to our department from four different governorates (Alexandria, Behira, Matrouh and Kafr Elshikh). The experience of the IMRT and its pros and cons and the importance of proper target definition and the prediction of the types of failure will lead a revolution in radiation therapy treatment that will lead to improvement in the treatment outcomes.
My expectations are to gain knowledge and skills of radiotherapy treatment planning using the recent sophisticated techniques of radiotherapy IMRT, IGRT. I wish to implement this training back home by introducing modern state of the art treatment modalities and strategies for cancer patients, since cancer continues to cause death and misery among our patients in Egypt. I hope this fellowship will enable me to establish a link between the University of Texas MD Anderson cancer center and our institution that can be of great value in achieving mutual research projects and exchange of personnel and experiences.
I hope to publish the results of this research project in international highly ranked peer reviewed journals. By broadening of my horizons by being exposed to the best schools in the world in both research methodologies and clinical applications, getting real life experience on the up to date state of the art technology in cancer treatment, I hope to transfer this experience back to Egypt or at least start a long term plan to achieve this kind of centers of excellence in our nation by, for instance, augmenting the value of the multidisciplinary team approach in cancer management. I also hope to try to start a Head and Neck multidisciplinary tumor board back in our institution.
The ACSBI Fellowship was supported by the American Cancer Society.
Abdallah Sherif Radwan Mohamed, MD., M.Sc, Assistant Lecturer of Clinical Oncology, Alexandria Clinical Oncology department, Alexandria University, was awarded an ACSBI fellowship in 2012 and is currently conducting his fellowship at the Radiation Oncology Department, MD Anderson Center, Houston, TX, USA.