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Mrs. Laura Bush Launches Awareness and Research Partnership in Mexico to Eliminate Breast Cancer, Empower Women

MD Anderson News Release 03/14/08

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and its partners announced the beginning of work to advance progress against breast cancer in Mexico through the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas today at an event with Mrs. Laura Bush.

Joining the collaboration are Asociacion Mexicana contra el Cancer de Mama, A.C. (Fundacion Cim*ab) and Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia (INCAN), which will work with MD Anderson, the U.S. Department of State and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to drive awareness, research, training, community outreach and women's empowerment.

MD Anderson and INCAN entered a formal sister institution agreement in January 2007, building on a relationship between the institutions that spans three decades.

MD Anderson is the lead U.S.-based medical partner in the partnership, and will advise the partnership on cancer research, provide educational assessment and serve on a medical steering committee with INCAN to prioritize research and educational initiatives to eliminate breast cancer.

The Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas was announced by Mrs. Laura Bush in July 2007 and is facilitated by the U.S. Department of State. The initiative brings together leading experts in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica to reduce the burden of breast cancer through programs for breast cancer in the region.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Mexico with more than 60 percent of breast cancer cases diagnosed at a late stage, when the disease is hard to treat.

"The high rate of women in Mexico being diagnosed with and losing their lives to breast cancer illustrates that we can do more," said Kendra Woods, Ph.D., director of MD Anderson's Department of Extramural Programs, who represented MD Anderson at the launch in Mexico City. "Through our involvement with the Partnership, we can make a meaningful contribution to help reduce the devastating burden of this disease for women and their families."

A team of 31 MD Anderson scientists and physicians have agreed to serve on an advisory board for the U.S. Middle East and U.S. Latin America partnerships. Faculty will now work with INCAN to address the priority issues to advance progress against breast cancer in Mexico. Expertise provided to the partnership will span the MD Anderson mission areas of education, prevention, research and clinical care. Results specific to this partnership may include recommendations on improving the research infrastructure in Mexico.

Also at the event today with Woods were four MD Anderson faculty members: Ana Gonzales-Angulo, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology; Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., professor, Department of Epidemiology; Aysegul Sahin, M.D., professor, Department of Pathology; Vincente Valero, M.D., professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology; and Karen Francis, project director for the Department of Extramural Programs. The group is a subset of the larger body of scientists, physicians, nurses and rehabilitation specialists involved in the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas.

John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of MD Anderson said, "This is a wonderful opportunity to expand the reach of our mission and relationships beyond our physical walls. By sharing knowledge and best practices with our partners, we can make strides against breast cancer, one town, one region and one country at a time across the Americas."

To date, MD Anderson has established sister institution relationships with 17 of the premier cancer centers around the world, and partnered with the Department of State on a similar breast cancer initiative in the Middle East formed in 2006. Experts from all international sister and breast cancer partner institutions will gather in Houston this June for MD Anderson's annual Global Academic Program Conference. 03/14/08


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