The Malawi Cancer Consortium (MCC) along side with its partners will this Wednesday, April 25 to 27 host international conference at Sunbird Hotel in the capital Lilongwe.

MCC builds on longstanding collaborations between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Lighthouse Trust, Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH), and the University of Malawi College of Medicine.

The conference is expected to provide major career development and scientific opportunities for young African investigators working in HIV-associated malignancies, who will be presenting their work at the meeting.

Satish Gopal, Cancer Program Director for UNC Project-Malawi told The Maravi Post in an interview that the Conference will focus on scientific activities and capacity building which are ongoing across the international network developed through innovative NCI program.

Dr. Gopal added that the expected outcomes include “dissemination of cutting-edge HIV-associated malignancies’ research.

“The research specifically being conducted in Africa by African investigators, as well as strengthened regional collaborative relationships across African U54 consortia and cancer centers,” said Gopal.

When asked about Malawi progress to date, Dr, Gopal said that MCC has managed to successfully link ART clinic data from Lilongwe and Blantyre with Malawi National Cancer Registry data to describe cancer incidence in HIV-infected individuals on ART in Malawi.

He also said they have enrolled more than 600 new lymphoma cases at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) with detailed pathologic characterization, standardized clinical care, follow-up, and data collection, thereby building one of the foremost research programs in Africa focused on lymphoma, a common curable cancer which is highly associated with HIV.

Echoing on the same, Dr. Jones Masiye, the Head of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health in Malawi said that the meeting has come at the right time.

“It’s an honour for Malawi to host such cancer high level meeting that brings together experts from all over the world, we have to learn from them as you know Malawi is about to open its own cancer center and it needs capacity building, ” said Masiye.

Other collaborative cancer activities between UNC and MOH at KCH include studies focused on Kaposi sarcoma, breast cancer, and esophageal cancer, as well as joint staffing of the cancer clinic and pathology laboratory providing routine care to public sector patients.

The Network Meeting of the Collaborative Consortia for Study of HIV-Associated Cancers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) is sponsored by the United States National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The conference attracts over 150 local and international delegates from 10 countries, namely Argentina, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, United States, and Zambia.