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James F. Holland, M.D

AORTIC is saddened to learn of the passing of one of its Founders, James F. Holland, M.D, on March 22, 2018. Dr James Holland, together with his wife Dr Jimmie Holland, nurtured AORTIC to promote cancer control and palliation in Africa for more than 25 years. He will be sorely missed by AORTIC.

AACR-AORTIC Research Workshop

AORTIC and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) partnered to present a Workshop on “Capacity Building for Cancer Research in Africa” in Cape Town, from January 17-18, 2017.

The two organizations joined efforts to present a workshop designed to facilitate improved expertise, resources, and infrastructure that can lead to impactful investigator-initiated cancer research in Africa.

Lectures & roundtable discussions included in the programme were:

  • Basic Research Principles
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Getting Grants
  • Collaboration: Rules of Engagement
  • Biosampling and Biobanking
  • Laboratory Best Practices and Workflow
  • Data Management
  • Best Practices for Data Analysis
  • Research Advocacy: Principles and Practices
  • Research Dissemination

75 delegates attended this highly successful workshop.

The AACR Research conference was held immediately after the 2 day workshop.

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AORTIC Road Map to Cancer control in Africa: Strengthening AORTIC North America. Strengthening Partnership and Collaboration

The AORTIC ASCO 2016 meeting took place on June 4th during the Annual ASCO meeting in Chicago . The meeting was entitled AORTIC Road Map to Cancer control in Africa: Strengthening AORTIC North America. Strengthening Partnership and Collaboration.

The program objectives were to  Discuss/propose strategies to strengthen AORTIC North America and enhance partnerships and collaboration in Research and Education between AORTC and North American Organizations, Clinicians and Researchers. The second objective was to  provide a networking forum that will connect African clinicians and investigators with North American Clinicians and Investigators.

The meeting was very well attended by physicians and researchers from the continent who were attending The ASCO meeting. AORTIC leaders such as Dr. Christopher  Williams, Dr. James F. Holland, Dr. Jimmie Holland, Dr. Funmi Olopade, Dr. N.A.Othieno-Abinya and Dr. Ahmed Elzawawy were also in attendance as well as Dr. Paul Ruff and Dr. Linus Chung from ASCO International. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Nazik Hammad, AORTIC North America VP who together with the audience discussed the role of AORTIC and strategies for strengthening collaboration and partnerships.

Dr. James F. Holland and Dr. Jimmie Holland provided the opening remarks and discussed AORTCI history, mission and its current momentum. Dr. Williams discussed the history of AORTIC North America, its website and possible future directions.

Dr. Abinya discussed the status of cancer control in Kenya. He gave a comprehensive review of the current situation in terms of public and private endeavors and the role of different stakeholders. This generated a lively discussion of the strengths and weakness of cancer control programs in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and the challenges facing capacity building efforts.

Dr. Ruff described some of ASCO initiatives in Africa such as International Development and Education Award (IDEA) and International Innovation Grants and discussed avenues for improving the collaboration between ASCO and AORTIC.

Dr. Elzawawy shared the vision of Harvard Global Health Catalyst Win-Win Initiative which is to foster scientific approaches and collaboration to reduce the cost of cancer therapies and increase cost effectiveness and affordability of cancer treatment for in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). He discussed that some of these approaches could offer reasonable solutions for acceptable treatment for underserved cancer patients in the high income countries too.

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to the discussion related to optimizing research and training partnerships with ASCO and other organizations. Dr. Funmi Olopade emphasized the role of young African researchers in leading the future of cancer control in Africa. Some of the young researchers present at the meeting briefed the audience of their ongoing research and their collaborations with other researchers in and outside Africa.

The meeting ended with a discussion on how to improve such gatherings in the future to ensure that African attendees of ASCO annual meeting get the maximum benefit of the meeting in terms of enhancing networking and collaboration.

MADCaP The Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate Consortium

Prostate cancer is most common in black men. Prof Chinegwundoh, explains (Part filmed during @AORTIC_AFRICA Nigeria)

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AORTIC PALOP Conference in Maputo, Mozambique

Conference 2016

Saw 150 delegates from the PALOP (Portuguese speaking countries in Africa) meet to discuss “Cancer as a public health problem in Mozambique – should it be prioritized” including international speakers from UK, Brazil & North America. This meeting was a collaboration between & supported by AORTIC & the Mozambican Ministry of Health.

This meeting brought to the fore what treatment exists, rather than optimal treatment, for the cancer patient & solutions, including support from the Government, can make a change in the lives of the cancer patient.

PALOP conferences takes place every 2 years. Watch this space for where & when the next PALOP conference will be happening!

PALOP Region: Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde Islands, Principe & Sao Tome Islands.

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AORTIC North America Meeting @ AACR

AACR Meeting 2016

The AORTIC AACR 2016 meeting took place on April 16th, 2016 in New Orleans during the Annual AACR meeting. The meeting was entitled “Overcoming Cancer Research Challenges in Africa: New Realities, New Vision”. The program objectives were to discuss/propose strategies to overcome the infrastructure and human capacity challenges of conducting basic, translational, and health services research in Africa. The second objective was to provide a networking forum that will connect African investigators with cancer scientists in North America.

The meeting was very well attended by AORTIC members including AORTIC leaders such as Dr. Christopher Williams, Dr. James F. Holland, Dr. Funmi Olopade and Dr. Sulma Mohammed, Dr. Frédéric Biemar AACR, NCI representatives, and African researchers.

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Roadmap to Cancer Control in Africa

906 delegates from 66 countries including 38 African countries were in attendance.

The AORTIC 2015 programme comprised two days of pre-conference workshops (22 different workshops, including an off-site Pathology workshop at a local hospital, and six lunch time sessions) and three days of conference workshops (nine early morning roundtable sessions, three keynote addresses, seven plenary sessions (including the closing session), eight lunch time sessions, and 25 workshops). There was space for :

Highlights of the Programme
  -Received more than 753 abstracts in response to the Call for Abstracts, with an additional 17 Late Breaking abstracts.
  -80 sessions over pre-conference and conference days.
  -211 posters displayed

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Pathology & Oncology Conference

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Pathology and Oncology in Africa: Education and Training for the future in Cancer Research

A total of 13 presentations, 3 discussions group format with panelists and a live demonstration of telemedicine/digital pathology at Bugando Medical Centre.

More about this meeting can be found in this publication:

Pathology and oncology in Africa: Education and training for the future in cancer research- East African Regional Meeting

DC Stefan 1, N Masalu 2, L Ngendahayo 3, D Amadori 4, M Botteghi 5, M Mendy 6, N. A. Othieno-Aabinya 7, T Ngoma 8, E Vuhahula 8, F Asirwa 9, O Balogun 10, W Ngwa 11 and Adenkunle Adesina 12


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will increase globally, with the largest increase being on the African continent. On our continent, projections have indicated that deaths from NCDs will exceed all combined communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional diseases as the most common causes of death by 2030. Hence, the importance of a functional and improved pathology system in the diagnosis of cancer cannot be debated.

Recently, the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) organised its East African regional meeting in Mwanza, Tanzania on 25–26 June 2015, with the focus being ‘Pathology and oncology: Education and training for the future in cancer research’. The main themes of the workshop were around improving cancer care and the role of twinning in Eastern Africa, in particular the Mwanza cancer project, telepathology, e-health and biobanking. The outcomes of a 2 day strategic meeting were developing an efficient and effective plan to guide the improvement in pathology training and cancer research in Africa.
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African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer: position and vision for cancer research on the African Continent

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The African Organization for Research and training in Cancer (AORTIC) bases the following position statements on a critical appraisal of the state on cancer research and cancer care in Africa including information on the availability of data on cancer burden, screening and prevention for cancer in Africa, cancer care personnel, treatment modalities, and access to cancer care.


African Cancer Burden Infections and cancer in Africa Diagnosis of cancer Access to healthcare Cancer research


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. About half of the annual incident cancer cases occur in the developing world. There were an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012 [4]. Of these, there were 715,000 incident cancer cases and 542,000 deaths in Africa, with increasing incidence of breast and prostate cancers. The incidence of cancer is therefore increasing worldwide and the continuing global demographic and epidemiologic transitions signal an ever-increasing cancer burden over the next decades, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Africa is expected to carry a major cancer burden by year 2030 [4]. Incidence rates of 1.27 million with 0.97 million deaths are estimated in 2030 for Africa.

Cancer in Africa has many unique features. As shown in Table 1, the leading cancers in Africa include many of those that are common around the world, but also include cancers that are less common in high-income countries and reflect patterns of cancer more commonly seen in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). In addition, the distribution of cancer types varies substantially within Africa, and these differ compared to the cancer type distribution in other parts of the world, with a high proportion of infection related cancers in many areas in Africa [8]. In men, prostate cancer is the leading cancer in most parts of Africa, similar to that in many other parts of the world. However, liver cancer is the leading cancer in large sections of West Africa, Kaposi Sarcoma is the leading cancer in Southeast Africa, and esophageal cancer is the leading cancer in Botswana. In addition, while breast cancer is the leading cancer in women in many parts of Africa, cervical cancers predominate in West Africa and parts of East and Central Africa [4]. Kaposi’s sarcoma was the second largest contributor to the cancer burden in sub-Saharan Africa. The AFs for infection varied by country and development status—from less than 5% in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some countries in western and northern Europe to more than 50% in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa [8].
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