New Moonshot Initiative: Improving Pediatric Brain Cancer Outcomes in Africa
Duke Cancer Institute is joining a new initiative with the Global Pediatric Brain Tumor Network, Bayer, the National Brain Tumor Society, other institutions, and Africa partners to "create an equitable ecosystem of care for pediatric brain cancer patients" across the continent of Africa. The announcement was part of a communique issued by The White House on December 14 during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit.
Using technology from the National Institutes of Health — a common digital platform — the group will connect African hospitals with U.S. hospitals and biomedical innovators in order to improve patient experience and outcomes. Specifically, the initiative will "help match pediatric patients to neuro-oncologists, clinical trials, potential treatments, and organizations that may be able to help close geographic, financial, and cultural barriers."
The new initiative also "aims to contribute to the acceleration of new drug development by participating in multinational pediatric clinical trials and thereby enable earlier access to newer and more innovative therapies for patients in the United States, Africa, and other partner countries."
The pediatric brain cancer initiative is part of a broader White House Cancer Moonshot initiative to dramatically improve cancer outcomes across Africa.
Duke Cancer Institute member H. Kim Lyerly, MD, — the George Barth Geller Distinguished Professor of Immunology, professor of Surgery, professor of Pathology, and executive director of the Center for Applied Therapeutics, Duke University School of Medicine — and pediatric neuro-oncologist Daniel Landi, MD, are co-leaders on the project.
This was one of several new Moonshot-related initiatives announced during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit.
First launched in 2016 by the Obama administration and led by then-Vice President Joe Biden to “accelerate scientific discovery in cancer, foster greater collaboration, and improve the sharing of cancer data,” the Cancer Moonshot was reignited in February 2022 by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, Ed.D. The new goals are to “reduce the cancer death rate by half within 25 years and to improve the lives of people with cancer and cancer survivors.” (The Cancer Moonshot was not active during the Trump administration.)
(CIRCLE PHOTO, TOP) Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Global Health Institute pioneer Kristin Schroeder, MD, MPH, a pediatric brain cancer specialist, is already helping close the pediatric cancer care gap in Africa. Via a Duke/ Bugando Medical Centre collaboration in Tanzania, she works to improve treatment and outcomes for kids with cancer through support & community education. In the seven years of the project, cancer survival rates have increased from 20% to almost 50%. Above is a table of posters made by kids and adults for World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, 2022, that she shared with us at that time. LEARN MORE about her work in the field.