Cancer is an urgent and growing global health issue with more than two-thirds of all cancer deaths occurring in low- and middle- income countries. Many of the highest-burden cancers in these regions are associated with infectious diseases, including HIV, human papillomavirus and viral hepatitis.
Uganda and other East African countries are faced with increasing cancer incidence and continue to see higher rates of infection-associated cancers compared with higher-income regions.
The Uganda Cancer Institute, founded in 1967, is a regional center of excellence that provides clinical care and education for cancer patients and their families and led research and training efforts. Because of the high incidence of infection associated cancers in Uganda, Fred Hutch faculty began working with UCI colleagues in 2004 to better understand the biology and treatment of these cancers, particularly HIV-associated malignancies.
In 2008, Fred Hutch and the UCI arranged a formal collaboration to conduct cancer and infectious disease research and training initiatives in Uganda (which was the inception of the Fred Hutch Global Oncology program). Fred Hutch incorporated the Hutchinson Centre Research Institute of Uganda, Ltd. (HCRI-Uganda) to operate locally in Uganda in order to work with the Uganda Cancer Institute and ensures compliance with Ugandan regulations. In Kampala, there is approximately 50 staff employed locally by HCRI-Uganda, with multidisciplinary expertise ranging from research nurses and research managers to administrative, operations, and finance leaders.
For over a decade, the UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration has partnered to conduct cancer and infectious disease research and to support capacity building for research and clinical care at the UCI. Most of the Collaboration’s efforts occur at the state-of-the-art UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre on Mulago Hill in Kampala, Uganda.
Together, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has awarded the UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration over $13 million in support since 2008. Over $10.4 million has been awarded for research and over $2.6 million has been awarded for training grants. The Collaboration has trained 14 long-term Ugandan physician-scientists and implement other research and clinical training opportunities in Uganda. Through a Burkitt lymphoma project, the Collaboration provided comprehensive case management and care for over 200 children with Burkitt lymphoma in Uganda.
Laying the foundation, Drs. Larry Corey and Corey Casper began research collaborations with the UCI with interest in the high incidence of pathogen-associated cancers.
Fred Hutch and the UCI establish formal partnership to focus on biomedical research, training, and clinical care.
Fred Hutch incorporated the Hutchinson Centre Research Institute of Uganda, Ltd. to implement business operations in Uganda.
With construction support from USAID and in partnership with the Ugandan government, Fred Hutch holds groundbreaking ceremony for the $10 million, UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre in Kampala.
President Museveni officially opens the state-of-the-art UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre, housing laboratory, research and clinical space. The Collaboration continues to build an exceptional team in Uganda.
UCI pediatric oncology, Kaposi sarcoma, and gynecologic oncology outpatient clinics moves into the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre.
Dr. Edus H. Warren named as Global Oncology Program Head, and Dr. Tom Uldrick named Deputy Head. Global Oncology and the UCI, with funding from GSK's African NCD Open Lab, set to open a clinical trial to test alternative diagnostic tool and oral chemotherapy, and study genetic differences for patients with breast cancer.
The UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and the East African Adult Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program launched at the UCI.
Global Oncology and the UCI, in partnership with Roche, launch a clinical trial that will evaluate a novel targeted treatment that can be administered under the skin of adult and pediatric lymphoma patients.
The Collaboration expands the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre by building-out the ground floor level and launches SARS-CoV-2 testing, in coordination with the Ugandan Ministry of Health's National Testing Program.
As of mid-December, the UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration laboratory team had conducted more than 3,500 SARS-CoV-2 tests since the program launched in 2020 delivering results in a 24-hour turnaround time or less. Global Oncology & HCRI-Ug teams created and launched a virtual tour of the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre.