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M. D. Anderson Announces Collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of Mexico

M. D. Anderson News Release 01/16/07
Building on a relationship that spans more than three decades, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (INCAN) in Mexico City (the National Cancer Institute of Mexico) have announced a formal agreement to expand opportunities for collaboration in clinical cancer research, prevention and education.

The agreement between M. D. Anderson and INCAN is based on their mutual commitment to research-driven patient care in a setting of academic excellence, and represents a step forward in the global fight against cancer. As the leading institution and governing body for cancer policy, treatment, education and research in Mexico, INCAN shares M. D. Anderson's strong interest in advancing programs in cancer prevention and translational medicine.

Leaders and representatives from both institutions participated in a signing ceremony at INCAN that coincided with the 60th anniversary of its founding and a symposium on leukemia. The institutions agree that leukemia, along with breast cancer and epidemiological studies, will be initial focus areas for collaboration.  It is anticipated that the relationship between the two institutions will further advance multidisciplinary, patient care programs throughout INCAN's network of 24 national cancer centers and lead to a greater understanding of cancer in Mexican and Mexican-American populations.

"For more than 30 years, INCAN has been a valuable partner to M. D. Anderson, and patients in Mexico and the United States have benefited from our shared knowledge," said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson. "This agreement formalizes a program to continue the important work we have accomplished together and advances our efforts to eradicate cancer throughout the world."

M. D. Anderson's long-standing relationship with INCAN has developed in part because of the geographic proximity of the centers, as well as the close historical, cultural and socioeconomic ties between Mexico and Houston. Specifically, the agreement will further shared population-based studies to understand the risk factors for development of certain cancers among Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, including the Mexican-American Cohort Study, the largest study ever to focus entirely on the health needs of Mexican-American families, currently underway at M. D. Anderson. Additionally, the collaboration establishes a plan for a national Mexican tissue bank, and faculty training and education activities related to breast cancer and leukemia, eventually expanding to include clinical research and translational projects.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in Mexico and accounts for 10.6% of all cancers and 16.4% of cancers in women. Mortality rates from breast cancer in Mexico have increased over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to rise as a significant portion of the population in Mexico ages. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with more than 19 new cases per 100,000 diagnosed each year.

"As a nation, Mexico recognizes the devastating effects of cancer and is dedicated to providing the best cancer care for the people of Mexico," said Alejandro Mohar, M.D., the General Director of INCAN. "Our expanded relationship with M. D. Anderson ensures that communities throughout Mexico will have access to the latest advances in cancer research and treatment."

Mohar attended the signing ceremony along with INCAN leader Alfonso Dueñas, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Research, Dolores Gallardo, M.D., Director of Academic Affairs, and Abelardo Menesess, M.D., Medical Director. Several M. D. Anderson faculty members attended, including Stephen Tomasovic, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs; Vicente Valero, M.D., Professor, Breast Medical Oncology; Jorge E. Cortes, M.D., Professor, Leukemia; Kendra Woods, Ph.D., Director, Extramural Programs; and Hilario E. Mata, Ph.D., Project Director of Extramural Programs.

"Many faculty members at M. D. Anderson have deep-rooted professional and personal interests in Mexico," said Tomasovic. "This agreement builds on their commitment to the prevention and management of cancer throughout the region, and continues to fulfill the mission of M. D. Anderson."

Among the first efforts emerging from the sister agreement is M. D. Anderson's participation in the XXIV Annual Congress of INCAN, planned for February 2007.  The symposium will highlight achievements across several disciplines of oncology and will bring together faculty from both institutions to discuss projects in clinical, basic and translational research and training.


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