The global oncology program complements the National Cancer Institute’s recently-announced strategic priority: addressing the global problem of cancer. While collaboration with researchers outside of the U.S. was part of the National Cancer Act of 1971, the emergence of genomic technologies and the understanding that cancer is many different diseases makes a global perspective essential to progress. The program's global mission currently includes clinical sites in the United States, Brazil, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, India, and China.
According to the World Health Organization, cancer accounted for 7.6 million deaths in 2008, the last year for which data is available, and are predicted to rise to over 11 million in 2030. Many of those are preventable deaths and there are large inequalities between the U.S. and developing countries. According to NCI, “unless current trends change, cancer in developing countries is expected to represent 70 percent of the global cancer burden by the year 2030.” Already more than half of all cancer cases occur in developing countries.
UNC Lineberger's Global Oncology Program is led by Blossom Damania, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology. The program's resource director is Dirk Dittmer, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology. Both are members of UNC Lineberger.