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Breast Cancer Preceptorship Programme
Dr Catherine Nyongesa Watta
Catherine Nyongesa is a Clinical and Radiation Oncologist at Texas Cancer Centre Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital, with over 20 years of experience in Oncology conducting inpatient and outpatient management of cancer patients. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery (University of Nairobi), Master of Medicine in Radiation Oncology (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), and a Fellowship (FC Rad Onc) in Radiation Oncology from the College of Radiation Oncologists of South Africa.
Among the key organizations, she has been a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Health Professions Council of South Africa, International Gynecologic Cancer Society, and is former Chair of the Kenya Society of Haematology and Oncology (KESHO).
She has received a number of awards in recognition of her work nationally and globally. These include:
- Conquer Cancer Foundation (2011, ASCO Annual Meeting),
- IDEA (International Development Education Award- ASCO, 2009)
- IGCS (International Gynecologic Cancer Society) Travelling Scholarship Award 2008
- Employee excellence award KNH 2007,
- MMED dissertation paper passed with distinction 2005 at University of the Witwatersrand, SA.
- Best O level and A level student Misikhu Girls High school (St Cecilia)
Dr Catherine Nyongesa is the first female radiation oncologist in Kenya.
She is one of the founders of the Texas Cancer Center Nairobi, and currently holds the position of Head of Department of the Cancer Treatment Centre at Kenyatta National Hospital. She is an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Nairobi and the Project/Program Leader of the American Cancer Society (ACS) Patient Navigation Program at Kenyatta National Hospital. She is also the Regional Project Coordinator for the following International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Project: AFRA- RAF/6/055 on Improving the Quality of Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Frequently Occurring Cancers.
Prof Mohsen Mokhtar
Mohsen Mokhtar is a Professor of Clinical Oncology in Al-Kasr Al-Aini Medical School and Cairo University, Cairo Egypt. Prof Mokhtar assisted in developing the syllabus and course structure at Al-Kasr Al-Aini, as well as, supervised several research programs and theses.
Prof Mokhtar is the managing Director of Cairo University Center of Oncology and Nuclear Medicine NEMROCK and the President of CANSURVIVE.
Prof Mokhtar has published more than 50 articles in several regional magazines in topics including: breast, lung, pediatric, colorectal, ovarian malignancies NHL and hematologic malignancies. Professionally, he has more than 20 years of experience in hospital management. He is currently the chief medical director in Elaj group covering the clinical and medical audit of group facilities.
Dr Loay Kassem
Loay Kassem is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Oncology at Cairo University in Egypt.
He had earned his medical degree from Kasr El Eini Medical School – Cairo University in 2005 and MD in Clinical Oncology from Cairo University in 2016.
Dr Kassem is a Research Fellow in Center Léon Bérard, Lyon, France. He participated as a Co-investigator in several international clinical trials and has authored several scientific papers in international journals.
Moderator: Dr Thomas Odeny
Thomas Odeny is a Senior Principal Clinical Research Scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute and also holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at the US National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health.
He holds an MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Society of Hematology (ASH), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the International AIDS Society.
He has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. His research has been published in scientific journals such as ‘Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer’, ‘Lancet HIV’, ‘PLOS Medicine’, ‘BMC Medicine’, ‘Implementation Science’, ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’, ‘Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes’, and ‘Journal of the International AIDS Society’ among others. In recognition of his contribution to research and clinical care, he has received multiple awards including ‘Conquer Cancer Global Oncology Young Investigator Award’, ‘American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award’, ‘Sirridge Award for Outstanding Humanistic Qualities – University of Missouri’, ‘Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections Young Investigator Award’, and was the first recipient of the ‘Kenya National AIDS Control Council Young Investigator Award’, Kenya’s highest award for young scientists in HIV.
His career vision in Global Oncology is to address gaps in cancer care by translating research advances to practical and scalable cancer programs in low-resource settings in the U.S. and in Africa through high-quality direct patient care and clinical/translational and implementation research.
His clinical research interest is broadly focused on reducing disparities in eligibility for immunotherapy clinical trials and expanding treatment options for cancer in people living with HIV. He is studying the effect of CD4+ T cell count on treatment-emergent adverse events and survival among patients with and without HIV receiving immunotherapy for advanced cancer. This work led to an ASCO Merit Award (2021).
As an ASCO Global Oncology Young Investigator Awardee, Dr. Odeny is also studying the association between Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) subtypes and clinical severity of disease in patients with KSHV-associated diseases (KAD) in North America and Africa. This will be among the first studies to evaluate KSHV subtype and cytokine profiles as predictors of survival in patients with KAD such as Kaposi sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, and KSHV-associated multicentric Castleman disease. By integrating patient clinical characteristics with KSHV genomic analyses, this study will provide a platform for understanding diseases that disproportionately affect low-income, stigmatized, and marginalized communities globally, and are therefore understudied to date.
He is also interested in leading patient and clinician education initiatives in global oncology with plans to establish a formal program in Global Oncology between KEMRI and Washington University in St. Louis. This will be a platform for training of a new generation of globally-oriented physicians who will advance scientific discovery for underserved populations with cancer globally. This will be an important step toward sustaining the potential spread of emerging cancer prevention and therapeutic strategies globally and make a lasting impact.
Prior to pivoting to a career in Global Oncology, Dr. Odeny was in-country PI or co- investigator for multiple NIH-funded trials, including 3 NIH R01s. These trials studied the application of implementation science to promote engagement in the HIV care cascade, and the use of technological innovations to support HIV prevention and treatment efforts. There is a growing recognition that urgent research is needed to find optimal approaches for the translation of efficacious clinical interventions into effective and appropriately scaled programs in the global response to cancer and HIV. As such, Dr. Odeny is interested in leveraging his expertise in implementation science to the growing academic field of global oncology.