Building on the achievements of our Southern Africa Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program and our NCI-funded T32 and R25 cancer research training programs, we have developed a program specifically designed to develop capacity within South Africa for research on HIV-related malignancies. The Columbia University-South Africa Training Program for Research on AIDS-related Malignancies (CUSATPRAM) is funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA. We have a formal collaboration with investigators at the University of KwaZulu/Natal (UKZN) in Durban, Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, and University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, but we welcome applicants from other institutions in South Africa as well.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) incidence and mortality rates have risen dramatically as the HIV/AIDS epidemic has evolved. In the developed world, cervical cancer is also HIV-related, but sub-Saharan Africa had among the world’s highest cervical cancer rates even before the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Access to anti-retroviral therapy and survival with AIDS are improving, but HIV-related malignancies are an increasingly urgent public health problem for men, women, and children in South Africa. Moreover, given its high prevalence, HIV may play a role in the etiology, treatment, or outcome of all malignancies in South Africa.
The aims of our training program are:
Our leading cancer and HIV epidemiologists, oncologists, and laboratory scientists work with the pre- and postdoctoral trainees and with colleagues in South Africa who are providing clinical care, conducting trials, and collecting specimens for study. Trainees take courses at CU and/or the collaborating universities in South Africa. Some trainees may acquire specific expertise in needed laboratory techniques; others may be trained in patient-oriented clinical research or public-health oriented epidemiology (potentially applicable to building a much-needed population-based cancer registry). All trainees receive mentoring from our faculty, and all participants are committed to building long-term collaborations and research capacity on HIV-related malignancies in resource-limited settings (e.g., development of a quick, low-cost KS test).
The purpose of our program is to strengthen the capacity to conduct research on HIV-associated malignancies in South Africa. For that purpose, six priority research training needs have been identified: