CENTER FOR BIOETHICS
The Center for Bioethics, Ibadan, Nigeria incorporating the West African Bioethics Training program is an program funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health through the Fogarty International Center to provide training and support for the development of international research bioethics in West Africa. The WAB supported MSc, MPhil/PhD Bioethics degree program at the University of Ibadan has admitted its first set of students. Go to our website for more information bioethicscenter.net
NATIONAL HEALTH RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE
In August 2006, I was appointed Chairman of the National Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria. This committee, which is modelled after the United States OHRP and British COREC among others, has developed the Nigerian Code for Health Research Ethics and is currently registering health research ethics committees in Nigeria in order to ensure compliance with modern standards in international research ethics. The Code can be downloaded from the NHREC website at http://www.nhrec.net
Various seminars and workshops are being held for members of health research ethics committees and biomedical researchers in the country in order to increase awareness and utilization of the Code. Go to the http://www.nhrec.net site for recent information and an update of the activities of the committee
SOCIETY OF ONCOLOGY AND CANCER RESEARCH OF NIGERIA (SOCRON)
Whenever cancer care professionals in Nigeria meet, 2 issues dominate the discussion, one is the increasing incidence of cancer in Nigeria and the other is the inadequate opportunities for training and research. I initiated the Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria because of the latter concern. My hope is that this society will provide a forum for developing the practice of oncology in Nigeria, provide opportunities to share knowledge and to teach, encourage young clinicians to develop an abiding interest in oncology and provide opportunites to present papers and learn from other peoples' research. The establishment is evolving slowly in order for us to put solid foundation that will last in place and I commend the patience of colleagues who share this vision. An immediate offshoot of this initiative is the development of an online journal - Cancer in Africa - which will soon start accepting papers after we have ensured that such papers will be indexed and the journal will publish at least 12 new articles every year. Modest though these aims are, they are not easy to achieve and we are working assiduously towards their realization.
The Meeting of the Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria has been scheduled for July 21st to 25th 2007. The program will feature joint symposium with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Nursing Oncology Training Workshop, opportunities for poster and oral presentations, a students section, etc. Please visit the society's web page for more information
CANCER IN NIGERIA
As an oncologist, cancer is the main focus of my clinical, teaching and research activities. The commonest cancers in Ngeria are, among females, breast and cervical cancers, and among males, liver and prostate cancers. For more go to the Cancer page (see the side panel)
BREAST CANCER CLINICAL TRIALS IN NIGERIA
An important way of generating new knowledge about cancer treatment is the clinical trials mechanism (http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/learning/page3). Clinical trials benefit patients and institutions in many ways including:
- Providing patients access to cutting edge treatment that is often not yet widely available
- Close and detailed follow-up
- Subsidizing treatment of patients
- Contribution to new knowledge that will benefit future generation
- Working with leading experts in the field and increasing local skills and expertise
At the Oncology Division of the Department of Surgery, University College Hospital, Ibadan, patients can enroll in any of the following clinical trials:
- An International Breast Cancer Study Group (http://www.ibcsg.org/) clinical trial of the value of metronomic chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer patients whose tumors are hormone receptor negative (IBCSG Trial 22-00). The chemotherapy is used as an anti-angionesis agent in these patients for whom there is currently little evidence based gold standard treatment. Patient accrual into this study will start shortly so contact us if you are a clinician interested in referring patients or you are a Nigerian patient interested in participating in the trial.
- An International Breast Cancer Study Group (http://www.ibcsg.org/) clinical trial of chemotherapy in the treatment of breast cancer patients whose tumors have recurred after initial treatment (IBCSG Trial 27-02, NSABP Protocol B37, BIG Trial 1-02). There is currently no gold standard for the treatment of these patients and studies like this will help us to know what to do for cush patients in future. Patient accrual into this study will start shortly so contact us if you are a clinician interested in referring patients or you are a Nigerian patient interested in participating in the trial.
We have published our analysis of the molecular subtype of breast cancer seen in Ibadan and contrary to the often stated claims, there was no substantial difference in the pattern compared to the results from well conducted studies from other parts of the world. This finding is practice changing in many ways:
- When the ER/PR status of patients is unknown, it is appropriate to treat as ER positive
- We need to focus on other issues such as quality of care, early presentation, etc to reduce the poor survival of our breast cancer patients rather than assume that it is due to biology.