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Nov. 1, 2011

Forming a global cancer network for research, clinical care, education and prevention.

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MD Anderson and King Hussein Cancer Center Sign Sister Institution Agreement

Today, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) and MD Anderson signed a Sister Institution agreement in Amman, Jordan. Mahmoud Sarhan, M.D., CEO and director general of KHCC and Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and provost of MD Anderson, signed on behalf of their respective institutions. Sarhan, a pediatric hematologic oncologist and stem cell transplantation physician, sees the collaboration as a way to strengthen KHCC’s already laudable cancer care.

“KHCC has a wonderful cancer treatment program,” says Sarhan. “But there are two areas we hope to improve by working with MD Anderson; our integrative medicine and personalized cancer care.”

The relationship between KHCC and MD Anderson began when both institutions participated in the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research begun in 2006 by former first lady Laura Bush. Building off this collaboration, KHCC and the American University of Beirut (AUB), also an MD Anderson Sister Institution, held a joint-inaugural conference in Beirut, Lebanon in January 2011. Each year the location of the annual conference will rotate between the two Middle Eastern centers. This year’s conference focused on topics in women’s cancers, and eight faculty from MD Anderson attended and presented on topics in gynecologic oncology and breast malignancies.  

Also in 2011, Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., associate professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Breast Medical Oncology, and Hikmat Abdel-Razeq, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at KHCC received support from Global Academic Programs’ Sister Institution Network Fund for their project looking at the frequency and outcomes of breast cancer susceptibility proteins 1 and 2 (BRCA 1/2) mutations in Jordanian women treated at KHCC for breast cancer. Only a few studies have evaluated BRCA mutations in Arab populations and this project hopes to provide data to help KHCC better manage breast cancer risk and treatment, as well as justify the need for a genetic counseling clinic.

“Initially, our relationship with KHCC will emphasize breast and cervical cancer, hematologic malignancies and gastrointestinal cancer,” Oliver Bogler, Ph.D. and vice president of GAP says. “As with the annual conference, KHCC will also allow us to partner with other SIs in the Middle East and cooperatively lessen the area’s cancer burden.”

As the region’s only comprehensive cancer center, KHCC’s mission is to provide the highest standards of care as well as access to education, training, public awareness and research. One way KHCC works to achieve these goals is through collaborations with cancer centers like MD Anderson. Both institutions hope the SI agreement will allow for development of additional research projects and interactions.

“KHCC is a strong partner in the fight against cancer in Jordan and throughout the Middle East,” DuBois commented. “Both centers have physicians who are intently interested in engaging to improve cancer care. By working together, we will be able to make a significant impact on those dealing with cancer.”

Calendar of Events

5th Japan TeamOncology Workshop
Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 17-18, 2011

9th International Conference on Ovarian Cancer
MD Anderson
Dec. 2-3, 2011

Recent Developments in Cancer Prevention
Udaipur, India
Dec. 16-19, 2011


CPRIT Convention Nov. 15-17

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) began in 2007 when Texas issued funds to support groundbreaking cancer research and enhance access to prevention services. This year marks the second annual conference and plenary speakers include Ronald DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson, Tyler Jack, Ph.D., director of MIT’s Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Harvey Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Institute of Medicine, which is the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences. MD Anderson has benefited from these funds, which assist with multiple research and prevention projects. Watch the CPRIT video below where Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., chair in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, talks about progressing from animal models to the first human trials with research involving personalized DNA vaccines to attack lymphoma.

Network News

First GAP-Hosted Lecture in Global Oncology Held

On Oct. 24, 2011 Kazunori Kataoka, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at The University of Tokyo, presented on, “Supramolecular Nanodevices from Engineered Block Copolymers for Gene and Drug Delivery.” Kataoka’s research merges biology and includes the development of nano-size devices to employ in cancer and gene therapy. For those who missed the lecture, be sure to watch the video in the multimedia section below. Kataoka talks about self-assembled nanodevices in a presentation from earlier this year at Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

Kataoka is also the program leader for the Center for Medical System Innovation (CMSI), which is one of The University of Tokyo’s Global Centers of Excellence programs. CMSI aims to develop innovative leaders in medicine through a combination of formal education and lectures, hands-on training and internships with companies and universities worldwide. MD Anderson has hosted several of these interns. Through the interactions surrounding CMSI, MD Anderson leadership became acquainted with Kataoka’s work, which led to his invitation to provide the inaugural Lecture in Global Oncology and the establishing of collaborations to apply his nanotechnology to the cancer problem. Read a previous GAP Connect article about CMSI and its Symposium in February.

Watch for future announcements about speakers in the series and if you have an idea about someone from your Sister Institution who would like to participate, please contact us at GAP Connect.