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Cancer Research in Kenya Symposium
The Kenya Society of Haematology and Oncology (KESHO) organized a virtual symposium on the topic of “Cancer Research in Kenya” on 26th February 2022. The symposium attracted over 400 participants not only from Kenya and Africa but also from other parts of the world. The participants ranged from doctors (from general practitioners to oncologists, surgeons, haematologists, etc.), nurses, scientists, pharmacists, students, and researchers from various areas of research related to cancer.
There were six panellist speakers who highlighted the need for research, research infrastructure and shared opportunities to get involved. The participants were asked to leave comments. The event lasted about 3 and a half hours and ended with a panel discussion with the speakers and the audience. During the panel discussion, the questions asked by the participants were discussed. In general, the talks and discussions revolved around doing local research, publishing it locally, and addressing the local issues with tips from the international arena. A detailed version of the talks of the speakers is included in this report, along with their biographies in the end.
PROF NICHOLAS ANTHONY OTHIENO-ABINYA
Nicholas Anthony Othieno-Abinya is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Nairobi Hospital Cancer Centre. He was formerly Professor of Medicine at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where he was the Director of Medical Oncology Fellowship Program and also the Head of Haematology/Oncology at the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi. In 2009 and 2010 he was Head of Oncology at AgaKhan University Hospital, Nairobi.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Internal Medicine of the University of Nairobi, completed fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Royal London Hospital (University of London) in 1992, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
His research interests are in malignant haematology and breast cancer, in which he has published widely in peer-reviewed journals. He also has keen interest in molecular oncology. He has authored a text book titled DrugTreatment of Haematologic Neoplasms. He has also co-authored cancer booklets, and has written chapters in several books. His latest book titled ‘Shadow in Perpetuity’ by Lambert Publishers was released in December 2019.
Dr. Othieno-Abinya is a member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and served in its International Affairs Committee from 2010-2012; Africa Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), having been Vice Chair for Eastern Africa and was a long time member of Council; and European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). He founded Kenya Society of Haematology and Oncology (KESHO), of which he was the first Chair, and is still its Patron. His outstanding academic achievements were profiled in the University of Nairobi magazine,’ Varsity Focus’ of September 2017.
He has received several awards and honours, including Kenya Breast Health Programme Award in appreciation of contribution to success of the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Conference on 11-14 July 2003; Kenya Breast Health Programme Award in recognition for outstanding contribution to the care of women with breast cancer in Kenya; Best Oral Presentation by Established Scientist Award, 2ND KASH Conference, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi; 2018 Harvard Global Health Catalyst: Distinguished African Ambassador Award.
PROF NAZIK HAMMAD
Nazik Hammad is an Associate Professor at the Division of Medical Oncology, Queen’s University, Kingston Health Science Center, Ontario, Canada. She is the Chair of the Education and Training Committee of the African Organization in Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC). Dr. Hammad is a visiting professor at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is the co-chair of the Network for Advancing Black Learners (Medical Students and Residents) in Ontario. She is the former Director of Global Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. She is an executive member of the Global Oncology Program at Queen’s University. She treats GI, breast and brain tumours.
Dr. Hammad has a keen interest in medical education, in particular health professions education in low and –middle-income countries (LMIC) and cancer workforce development. She has a Master degree in Medical Education in the Health Professions (MEHP) from Johns Hopkins University. She teaches regularly at the Clinical Oncology Training Program in Khartoum, Sudan and as a visiting professor at the Medical Oncology Fellowship Training Program, University of Nairobi, Kenya. Her areas of expertise include training program development and evaluation, accreditation, curriculum development, mentoring and innovations in education. Her work on education has been presented at international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. She is a recipient of several grants in education including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada International Development, Aid and Collaboration Grant in 2020 for Faculty Development among African Oncologists.
Her other areas of interest include value in cancer care. Together with colleagues in African she led the first Choosing Wisely Africa that was recently published in the Journal of Global Oncology.
DR PETER OMONDI OYIRO
Peter Oyiro is currently a Lecturer at the Department of Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics, at the University of Nairobi. He also a Consultant Physician and Medical Oncologist at the Kenyatta National Hospital Teaching and Referral Hospital, Nairobi.
Dr Oyiro attended his Research Fellowship in Hematological Malignancies at the West Virginia University Cancer Center (2013) and Medical Oncology fellowship at the University of Nairobi (2018).
He is a member of Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO), American Society of Clinical Oncologist ( ASCO) and the European Society of Medical Oncologists( ESMO).Dr. Oyiro main interest is in Research and cancer education particularly in Hematological Malignancies, HIV associated neoplasms and Sickle cell disease as well as newer cancer targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
PROF MANSOOR SALEH
Mansoor Saleh, MD received his early education in the Aga Khan School system in East Africa, his medical education at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and conducted his doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. He received his training in internal medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan and clinical and translational research training in Hematology & Oncology at the University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center in Birmingham, Alabama where he was tenured Professor of Medicine & Pathology and Director of the First-in-Human Early Drug Development Program.
His area of research and clinical focus is “targeted therapy of cancer”. In January 2020, he joined the Aga Khan University in Nairobi, Kenya as the Founding Chair, Department of Hematology – Oncology and Founding Director – AKU, N Cancer Center.
DR SITNA ALI MWANZI
Sitna Ali Mwanzi is a Consultant Medical Oncologist working at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. She is the former Chair of the Kenya Society of Haematology and Oncology (KESHO) which is a professional organization whose aim is to reduce the cancer burden and mortality in Kenya through education, research and advocacy initiatives.
Dr Mwanzi attained her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi and Master of Medicine in Internal Medicine from the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. She undertook a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Barts Health NHS Trust in the United Kingdom attaining a Specialist Certificate in Medical Oncology from the Royal College of Physicians and Association of Cancer Physicians in the United Kingdom. She also has a Master of Science in Advanced Oncology from Ulm University in Germany. She has recently been recognized as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (FRCP).
Her research interests include breast cancer, prostate cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia and cervical cancer. She is passionate about increasing health care worker and general public awareness about cancer, role of screening, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Mwanzi works closely with the National Cancer Control Program in implementation of the National Cancer Control Strategy. She has also been involved in the development of national guidelines for Kenya and harmonization of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa.
PROF WILFRED NG’WA
Wilfred Ngwa is the Director of the Global Health Catalyst at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School. Dr Ng’wa earned a Bachelors degree at the University of Buea Cameroon, graduate degrees at the University of Leipzig Germany, and subsequently postdoctoral and clinical training at Harvard Medical School. He currently leads a Global Health Program with research developing new technologies and approaches to boost cancer cure rates and reduce global health disparities.
This work has been recognized with a number of awards, including the prestigious BWH BRIght Future’s Prize in 2015 (for the project “Tiny Drones to Target Cancer”). Other awards include two “Best in Physics” Awards by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists, Research Excellence Awards from the National Cancer Institute and innovation awards from Partners Healthcare, among other awards.
Dr Ngwa’s research is focused on clinical translation of technologies/approaches that can increase access to quality cancer treatment. This includes smart radiotherapy biomaterials (Tiny drones to Target cancer or nanoparticle drones) and PhytoMedicines. The award-winning drone technologies are designed to help eliminate both local and metastatic tumors with minimal collateral damage or side effects. The drones can be employed to sustainably deliver different drug payloads (including immunotherapy/chemotherapy drugs or cannabinoids) precisely to disease sites or targets, with greater therapeutic efficacy. This work leverages the abscopal effect and the biomaterials drone technology in research to significantly increase survival and quality of life for patients.
DR MIRIAM MUTEBI (MODERATOR)
Miriam Mutebi is a Consultant Breast Surgical Oncologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a clinical epidemiologist and health systems researcher with a research focus on understanding barriers to access for women with cancers in Sub-Saharan Africa and in designing interventions to mitigate those barriers.
Dr Mutebi is the President Elect of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), the Chairperson for the Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO) and on the board of directors of the Union folr International Cancer Control (UICC). She is also the co-founder of the Pan African Women’s Association of Surgeons (PAWAS-www.africanwomensurgeons.org) which was developed to mentor and provide transformative leadership for women in surgery in order to improve surgical care and pathology on the continent and is part of the Kenya Association of Women Surgeons.
She is the Co-chair of the National Cancer Taskforce in Kenya, Chair of the Commonwealth Taskforce for the elimination of Cervical Cancer and a commissioner with three Lancet commissions of Women and cancer, Cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and Breast Cancer. She is currently pursuing a pilot’s licence in order to extend breast care services to marginalised areas.
- Medical Oncologists
- Radiation Oncologists
- Clinical and Radiation Oncologists
- Paediatric Oncologists
- Surgical oncologists
- Gynaecological oncologists
- Clinical trial co-ordinators
- Oncology nurses
- Registrars and fellows specializing in oncology field
- Trainee radiation therapists, medical physicists and oncology nurses
- Medical officers and general practitioners working in the Oncology field
- Radiation therapists
- Medical physicists
- Oncology pharmacists
- Sponsoring company