Duke has launched a Global Cancer Initiative in order to identify causes and treatment for cancer around the world.

The Global Cancer Initiative was announced as a collaboration between the Duke Global Health Institute and the Duke Cancer Institute just a few days before World Cancer Day on February 4 to address new trends in global medicine, said Dr. Nelson Chao, professor of medicine and global health and one of the leaders of the program. The initiative will launch at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Tanzania—one of four cancer referral centers in the country.

“With the way the world is changing, non-communicable diseases such as cancer have surpassed infectious diseases,” Chao said.

Dr. John Bartlett, professor of medicine and global health at both DGHI and KCMC, is another leader of the initiative. He noted the importance of fostering cancer prevention and treatment in Tanzania.

“Some of our short-term goals include hiring faculty members to be stationed in the region to roll out grants and research proposals,” Bartlett said. “Our long-term goals include developing a strong research capacity and developing a self-sufficient model of cancer prevention and care.”

He added that there are several challenges to creating an overseas initiative that is focused on cancer prevention and treatment.

“Historically, American oncologists have not [sought out] opportunities internationally,” Bartlett said. “A second challenge is identifying resources that can be used for global cancer research efforts.”

DGHI and DCI will be funding the program, but the full costs of it are still uncertain as the initiative is still in its initial stages of planning.

Bartlett, along with other DGHI faculty, have created a strong presence in Moshi, Tanzania over the last 20 years. DGHI currently has a preexisting partnership with KCMC—the Medical Education Partnership—that brings technology, teaching innovations and new resources to Tanzania.

Rolvix Patterson, a senior and global health major who has conducted research in Haiti, noted that providing care in a resource-poor area can be an immense challenge but rewarding.

“The partnership with DGHI, Duke Cancer Institute and the Tanzanian health clinic will provide the clinic with a higher level of support, leading to improved short-term and long-term health outcomes,” Patterson wrote in an email Sunday.

In addition to this partnership, DGHI and DCI will host a Global Cancer Symposium May 14. Researchers from India, China, Brazil and various African nations will attend.