Women living with HIV are more vulnerable to cervical cancer, especially in the low- and middle-income countries. Eighty-five percent of cervical cancer deaths occur in these settings, where high quality preventative services are often lacking.
As part of the HIV/Cervical Cancer Prevention ‘CASCADE’ Clinical Trials Network, investigators from the three institutions will develop trials to be conducted at clinical sites in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana that were selected by NCI to be in the CASCADE Network. Cervical cancer is a preventable disease, but so often women in these areas of the world present with advanced cancer that causes hardship and dramatically raises the likelihood of death.
“We have the tools already to make an immediate impact for these women. The challenge is how do we deploy them optimally? How do we sustain these services and engage women to accept them?” said Timothy Wilkin, M.D., multiple principal investigator (MPI) for CASCADE, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine and an infectious disease specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
To address these goals, Anna R. Giuliano, Ph.D., MPI of CASCADE, and founding director of Moffitt’s Center for Immunization and Infection Research in Cancer is collaborating with Wilkin and Carla Chibwesha, M.D., MSc. an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the University of North Carolina’s Division of Global Women’s Health and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Since 2018, the World Health Organization has had elimination of cervical cancer as a global goal. The strategy to achieve this goal was approved by the World Health Assembly, a strategy that clearly highlights the importance of cervical cancer screening and treatment,” said Giuliano. “As each community has unique challenges to implementing screening and treatment, adaptation and innovation is required to assure that we can meet the ambitious goal that has been set. Hence the importance of continued research.”
“The CASCADE Network brings together leaders in cervical cancer prevention from the Global North and South. Through the network, we have a unique opportunity to work towards the elimination of cervical cancer by generating critical evidence on how best to implement newer cervical screening and precancer treatment modalities at scale,” said Chibwesha.
The investigators are working with providers at study sites to identify challenges to screening patients for precancerous changes to the cervix, and to treating those patients found to be at risk. The team has already identified some new approaches they hope to test.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
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