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New Partnership between United States and the Republic of Chile Hopes to Address Cancer in Hispanic Populations (dateline August 30, 2009)

The U.S. National Cancer Institute recently announced a partnership between its organization and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Chile to strengthen and expand cooperation in a broad range of mutual interests, emphasizing basic and clinical cancer research, bioinformatics, data systems and informatics, and transfer of technology. The National Cancer Institute hopes to increase progress in fighting cancer among Hispanic populations both in the United States and in Latin America.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2006, cancer was estimated to be the second leading cause of death in Chile. Each year, 36,500 new cases are diagnosed. Cancer mortality rates for Chilean males are highest in stomach, lung and prostate cancers, while for Chilean females the highest mortality rates are in gallbladder, breast, and stomach cancers.

On June 16, 2009, the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Chile signed a letter of intent whereby both institutions will work under a collaborative agreement to advance cancer research that meets the needs of Chile and the United States. The agreement has several goals, including developing the competencies and training of researchers by sharing technology and expertise and working to enhance already existing cancer registries and implementation of early phase clinical studies with cultural sensitivity.

"We're eager to work with the United States on this very important effort," said Jeanette Vega, the Chilean Undersecretary of Public Health, in a National Cancer Institute news release. "Chile and the U.S. have much to share in the area of cancer. We can share our longstanding experience in the area of gallbladder cancer and the U.S. can share their knowledge in the area of breast cancer. The key to be able to advance globally in these areas is to collaborate, collaborate and collaborate."

According to the National Cancer Institute, the partnership may include promoting the exchange of technical information and research materials, development of collaborative research projects, reciprocal access to laboratories, databases and research repositories, visits of professional specialists or experts, training activities and collaborative forums such as seminars, workshops, symposiums and conferences.

"Cancer knows no borders and we must conquer this disease globally. This new partnership holds great promise to facilitate science that elucidates why cancer so often affects patients of different ethnicities and nationalities in unique ways, such as the high prevalence of stomach and gallbladder cancer in Chile," said John E. Niederhuber, M.D., National Cancer Institute Director, in the Institute's news release. "We're eager to work with Chile on this very important effort."

The first collaborative pilot project of the United States-Latin America Cancer Research Network will focus on breast cancer because it is among the deadliest cancers in each of the five participating Latin American countries. The alliance will conduct research on those cancers that have the greatest impact on Latin America.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the Republic of Chile joined four other Latin American countries and the United States in this unique collaboration -- the United States-Latin America Cancer Research Network -- which will support high-quality cancer research and care in Latin America. This network is responsible for developing a comprehensive understanding of the burden of cancer and the current status of the research and care infrastructures in Latin America. In addition to Chile, the network includes Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and the United States.

Additional Resources and References

  • This article references the June 23, 2009, National Cancer Institute news release, "United States and the Republic of Chile Partner to Battle Cancer,"