Twinning Programs

ICEC is a network-oriented global partnership that emphasizes sustainability and growth through ICEC’s “Twinning Programs”. A twinning program is a collaborative relationship between a university department or cancer program (or private practice) in an upper income country (an ICEC Hub with ICEC Experts) and a cancer program/facility in a low- or middle-income country (an ICEC Center with ICEC Associates). This capacity building strategy facilitates the creation of a sustainable platform for the sharing of best practices and learnings from each other through information and technology transfer. The ultimate aim is for the ICEC Centers and Associates to progress to become ICEC Hubs and Associates for their specific regions.

Current Twinning Programs:

Chika Nwachukwu, MD PhD

Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi Kenya: Transitioning from 2D to 3D radiation treatment planning.

Kenyatta Hospital (Nairobi Kenya) is the only public hospital in Kenya that is dedicated to cancer management. Radiotherapy is an integral component of cancer care in this region. At Kenyatta, a linear accelerator was installed in March 2016 and treatment of patients is slowly ramping up on this machine. The major road blocks to ramping up include technological glitches, unfamiliarity with the 3D treatment planning system.

Using a multidisciplinary approach and a team comprising of clinical radiation oncologist, radiation therapists and medical physicists our focus was to improve radiotherapy delivery and the theme centered around the transition from 2D to 3D radiotherapy. This was accomplished with carried out with hands on teaching including simulation and set -ups, contouring, treatment planning and patients management.

Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria: Developing a Multidisciplinary Tumor Board

Using a needs assessment, we examined barriers to improving cancer care and developed short term and long-term goals to improve cancer care at two teaching hospitals in Nigeria. The goal was to determine if an adequate system exists to evaluate the cancer burden and determining the available resources to tackle the burden. From our needs assessment, two short term goals identified include improving radiotherapy delivery by teaching the transitioning from 2D to 3D treatment planning and as well as developing a multidisciplinary tumor board.

Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Dar Es Saleem, Tanzania: Establishing research collaboration with Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Dar Salem Tanzania

Tanzania has a high burden of cervical cancer cases. Patients are managed with chemo radiation similar to the US standards. At ORCI ~70% of the patients have cervical cancer and there is high disease recurrences among the patients at this institution. Our goal is to develop research collaboration with physicians at ORCI to study these tumors and determine predictors of aggressiveness.

For more information on Dr. Nwachukwu’s work with Stanford University’s Department of Radiation, click here.

Surbhi Grover, MD, MBA

Dr. Grover and her fellow researchers at Princess Marina Hospital in Botswana  developed a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach to accelerate care and improve communication between healthcare professionals and their patients so that patients would have access to treatment facilities faster. The team established weekly meetings with providers, including radiation oncologists, clinical oncologists, gynecologists, nurse coordinators, and palliative care specialists to discuss patient cases and develop treatment plans in collaboration. Together, the team worked to submit paperwork and other documentation, reducing delays in treatment and simplifying the overall process.

Over the course of six months, the team treated 135 patients. With the implementation of the new MDT approach, they were able to reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment initiation by more than 50 percent, cutting the median delay from biopsy to treatment initiation to 39 days — a significant improvement from the previous average of 108 days.

For more information on Dr. Grover’s work with the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center, click here.

For more information about ICEC’s Twinning Programs, please contact info@iceccancer.org.