Stanford Cancer Institute expands global reach

Stanford epidemiologists are aiming to get a better understanding of how cancer impacts the developing world and build research and prevention programs there.

Beverly Mitchell

The Stanford Cancer Institute is expanding its global reach with the recent addition of two noted population scientists who have major projects in the developing world.

Cancer epidemiologist Ann Hsing, PhD, professor of medicine and co-leader of the institute's population sciences program, joined Stanford in late 2015 after 26 years at the National Cancer Institute and at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. She now has an NCI grant for a pilot study in Ghana to develop a hospital cancer registry in the hope of expanding it to become a populationwide database for the West African country.

Hsing is also conducting genomewide studies on prostate cancer there and in three other African countries with colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Albert Einstein Medical School. Prostate cancer, together with colon and breast cancer, are the three most common causes of cancer deaths in Africa, she said.

Her colleague, Robert Haile, DrPh, professor of medicine and associate director for population sciences at the Stanford Cancer Institute, is focused on Asia and Latin America. He leads the Colon Cancer Family Registry, with centers in the United States, Canada and Australia, and the Latin American Cancer Epidemiology Consortium to coordinate cancer research in the region. In April, Stanford will host a two-day meeting of the LACE behavioral sciences section to discuss a number of initiatives, including programs to promote physical activity as a prevention strategy.

These populationwide initiatives are part of the Stanford Cancer Institute’s new emphasis on its international health effort, said Beverly Mitchell, MD, the center’s director. “Because we are a relatively new cancer center, a lot of our focus has been on building our clinical research and translational medicine programs,” Mitchell said. “But going forward, we will have a much greater focus on global health.”

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