MD Anderson announces new initiatives in Mozambique and Brazil to advance cancer prevention, treatment, research and education efforts

Expands on previous efforts to reduce the global cancer burden

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced the expansion of its global oncology efforts in Mozambique and Brazil, including a new four-year agreement to broaden existing cancer prevention and treatment efforts with the Ministry of Health in Mozambique and a $5.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) focused on cervical cancer prevention and treatment among women living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

"As an institution committed to advancing cancer care globally, MD Anderson recognizes the urgent need to address the cancer burden in Mozambique and Brazil. Through these collaborations, we strive to empower communities, to improve access to quality care and to enhance research efforts,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “Together, we can make a profound impact on reducing the effects of cancer in these nations, bringing us all closer to Making Cancer History®.”

MD Anderson and colleagues in Brazil began collaborating with Mozambique’s Ministry of Health in 2014 to increase cervical cancer screening and treatment. Together, they are working to further increase cervical cancer screening, to perform research, and to train additional medical providers with hands-on experiences and through the Project ECHO® telementoring model.

Every year, more than 600,000 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed and more than 340,000 related deaths occur worldwide. In Mozambique, cervical cancer represents about 32% of the country’s new diagnoses and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Mozambican women.

Collaboration in Mozambique expands to include breast and prostate cancer
Building on nearly 10 years of success, MD Anderson has signed a new agreement expanding its collaboration in Mozambique to continue offering high-quality cancer care to Mozambican women and to increase the country’s medical capacity by training nurses and doctors. The collaboration, initially focused on cervical cancer, will broaden to include breast and prostate cancer.

In addition to increased screening and treatment, the initiative aims to grow the nation’s participation in research studies. More than 10,000 Mozambican women combined participated in the first two cervical cancer research studies jointly performed by MD Anderson and the Mozambique Ministry of Health.

Consortium will advance technologies to better prevent and diagnose cervical cancer
MD Anderson, along with Rice University and partners in Mozambique and Brazil, was awarded a $5.1 million U54 grant from the NIH to develop novel, low-cost technologies for cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment in women living with HIV, a significant risk factor for cervical cancer.

The collaborative team will conduct research studies in Brazil and Mozambique, which are both primarily Portuguese-speaking nations. Performing these studies in Mozambique as well as Brazil will allow for important comparisons between countries and will provide results that may be applicable to other low- and middle-income countries, as well as underserved regions of high-income countries. The grant also will support research training and exchanges between investigators in the U.S., Brazil and Mozambique, furthering global collaborations.

“Both HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer are significant public health issues in Mozambique and Brazil,” said principal investigator Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., executive director of Global Oncology and professor of Gynecologic Oncology & Reproductive Medicine. “We look forward to working together with our colleagues in Mozambique and Brazil to improve cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment for women living with HIV globally.”

MD Anderson Cancer Network® advances the institution’s mission to eliminate cancer by collaborating with local hospitals and health systems to improve the quality and accessibility of cancer care and research. As part of its Global Oncology program, a collective approach to ending cancer in low- and middle-income countries, the institution collaborates with governments and mission-aligned organizations to advance cancer education, training, public policy and research initiatives.

MD Anderson and the World Health Organization (WHO) previously announced an international collaboration to reduce the global burden of women’s cancers, including breast and cervical cancers, and an agreement with Indonesia’s Ministry of Health to establish a cooperative relationship to advance cancer care/services, cancer education/training and cancer research.

Chris McKee, Dr. Cesaltina Lorenzoni and Dr. Kathleen Schmeler