National Comprehensive Cancer Network Working With Health Officials in Bolivia to Improve Cancer Care

Representatives from NCCN met with health leaders in The Plurinational State of Bolivia to begin generating cancer treatment recommendations to fit the country’s unique needs. These new national guidelines will be based on the NCCN Framework for Resource Stratification of NCCN Guidelines (NCCN Framework), which are themselves based on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines). These versions will be translated into Spanish and will be the first to be adapted to the specific cancer care circumstances in Bolivia.

“The NCCN Guidelines are the most widely used cancer treatment guidelines in Bolivia; now they will be even more accessible and appropriate for optimizing treatment practices across the country,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Working with local experts allows us to customize our evidence- and expert-consensus–based recommendations to reflect different levels of resource availability in Bolivia. We are also able to target the areas of greatest need for this population. These types of collaborative projects are crucial to our mission to define and advance high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care all over the world.”

The Bolivian adaptations of NCCN Framework will join a growing number of Adaptations & Translations, NCCN Harmonized Guidelines, and other resources designed for use outside of the United States. They are all available to view or download for free at NCCN.org or via the Virtual Library of NCCN Guidelines App for smartphone and tablet.

The first 3 Bolivian adaptations will focus on breast, cervical, and rectal cancers, based on the highest incidences and most need for the region. NCCN plans to address additional cancer types in future editions.

The delegation from NCCN includes CEO Dr. Carlson, as well as Chief Medical Officer Wui-Jin Koh, MD, former Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Cervical Cancer. William J. Gradishar, MD, and Al B. Benson III, MD, both from Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and current Chairs of the NCCN Guidelines Panels for Breast and Rectal Cancer, respectively, round out the group.

“We know different regions of the world have different needs when it comes to cancer care guidelines,” explained Dr. Koh. “At NCCN, we have recently placed an increasing focus on low- and middle-income countries to make sure we are doing everything we can to improve standards for cancer care delivery and elevate outcomes for everybody.”

This work is possible thanks to the organization and funding of PROMIS Bolivia, with generous support from Northwestern Medicine’s Global Health Initiative and the Lurie Cancer Center. PROMIS Bolivia is a charitable foundation whose mission is to adapt, disseminate, and implement state-of-the-science, international health care interventions throughout Bolivia in order to maximize the health outcomes of patients and their families.

“This collaboration is an important step forward for cancer care in Bolivia,” said Steven J. Schuetz, MD, chief surgical resident at Northwestern Medicine and founder of PROMIS Bolivia. “Cancer care in Bolivia remains geographically and financially inaccessible to a large proportion of the population, with high rates of medical impoverishment and early termination of treatment. The development of NCCN resource-stratified cancer guidelines adapted to the Bolivian healthcare system will allow every patient with cancer in Bolivia—regardless of socioeconomic status—to be provided evidence-based cancer care that promotes treatment completion, minimizes impoverishment, and results in better outcomes for the patient and their family.”

For more information about NCCN’s global work to improve and standardize cancer care practices worldwide, visit NCCN.org/global, and join the conversation online with the hashtag #NCCNGlobal.

NCCN Advances Cancer Research and Oncology Career Development With Young Investigator Awards, Poster Presentations, and Fellows Program

NCCN and the NCCN Foundation today announced 4 recipients of the annual Young Investigator Awards. These awards provide funding and study support to some of the most promising early-career cancer researchers from across the 28 leading academic cancer centers that comprise NCCN. Past recipients were on-hand at the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference to present their findings as posters and oral presentations, reflecting the conference’s expanding focus on original research. The conference also included a program specifically for future oncology practitioners, or fellows, furthering NCCN’s commitment to nurture rising talent in the field of oncology.

“From our young investigator awardees to our poster presenters and fellows, NCCN recognizes our important role in preparing for the oncology practices of tomorrow,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Past Young Investigator Awardees have gone on to publish important findings and even to chair NCCN Guidelines Panels. We’re learning more every day about how cancer works and how best to keep it under control. It’s crucial that we keep cultivating future generations of cancer experts who are prepared to continue advancing standards of care.”

This year’s Young Investigator Awards—selected and managed by the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) and funded through support from the NCCN Foundation from Astra Zeneca, Merck & Co., Inc., Genentech, Inc., Pfizer, and Incyte —went to:

  • Prasanna Ananth, MD, MPH, Yale Cancer Center, Establishing Benchmarks for High Quality End-of-Life Care in Children With Cancer

  • Jaehyuk Choi, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Genomic Determinants of Responses to Immunotherapy in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

  • Kedar Kirtane MD, Moffitt Cancer Center, Feasibility of a Digitized Peer-to-Peer Patient Support System for Patients With Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Undergoing Chemoradiation

  • Yanming Li, PhD, University of Michigan, Network Genome-Wide Association Studies for Early Detection of Cancers

In addition, the following past recipients presented their findings as part of the oral and poster presentations at the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference:

  • Saad Kenderian, MB, CHB, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Axl-RTK Inhibition Modulates T-Cell Functions and Synergizes With Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in B-Cell Malignancies

  • Sara Khor, MASc (on behalf of Kemi M. Doll, MD, MCSR), University of Washington, Mechanisms of Diagnostic Delay Among Black Women With Endometrial Cancer (EC): Results From Qualitative Interviews and a National Analysis of Healthcare Data

  • Florian Muller, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Collateral Deletion of Glycolysis Genes Generates Selective Vulnerabilities to Inhibitors of Oxidative Phosphorylation

  • Saul Priceman, PhD, City of Hope National Medical Center, Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer Combining CAR-Engineered T Cells With Targeted Immune Checkpoint Inhibition

  • Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Patient-Derived Tumor Organoids for Drug Discovery of High-Risk Hepatoblastoma

The presentations were among 131 different research posters presented across 2 days; the most abstracts ever accepted at an NCCN Annual Conference. The posters were categorized as: preclinical oncology, correlative/genomic, outcomes and health services research, and clinical oncology, with all categories well represented. Each poster was independently scored by a peer review committee of oncology faculty from NCCN Member Institutions. All Young Investigator Award presentations, as well as the top 5 non–Young Investigator Award abstracts, were invited to take part in the special recognition oral poster presentation, a new feature at this year’s conference.

This year’s poster presenters included Yamini Ananth, a senior at Atholton High School, who worked with a mentor at Johns Hopkins University to study tumor molecular data of patients with glioblastoma and BRAF V600E mutations. Another presenter, Shulin Yu, traveled from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center to present her work on evaluating the feasibility of developing a diagnostic or prognostic signature for early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. She explained that she spent the weeks leading up to the conference learning how to speak English for the first time, in order to communicate her results in person.

Abstracts and images from all 131 posters can be viewed online at JNCCN.org.

The NCCN 2019 Annual Conference also facilitated career development for early-career cancer experts through a series of programs specifically intended for the Fellows in attendance. Those events included a peer meet-and-greet networking event, a mentoring program connecting NCCN Guidelines Panel Chairs of today with the potential leaders of tomorrow, and a post-conference program on New Horizons in Quality Cancer Care.

“This was a really impactful collection of programs to take part in as a fellow,” said Rohit Gosain, MD, Clinical Fellow, Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The sessions were very practical, clinically oriented, and at the cutting edge.”

The NCCN 2020 Annual Conference will commemorate 25 years of existence for the nonprofit alliance. It will be held in Orlando on March 20–22, 2020, and include research presentations from the 2018 cohort of Young Investigator Award recipients. Visit NCCN.org/conference for more information, and visit NCCN.org/ORP to stay up-to-date on all of NCCN’s efforts pertaining to cancer research.

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