In 2011, the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute publically acknowledged the rapid prominence of cancer disease and deaths in developing countries. In 2012, UT Health San Antonio, Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, and Cancer Therapy and Research Center (UT Health Cancer Center) recognized this need and embarked on a mission within Southeast Asia to advance global cancer research, build expertise, and leverage resources across nations to address the challenges of cancer and reduce cancer deaths worldwide.
In collaboration with the Kids With Cancer Foundation of Vietnam, our team members evaluated institutional capabilities as well as any possible impact of program implementation. We found that in southern Vietnam cancer survival was as low as 5% compared to more than 90% survival for childhood ALL in the USA. Our current efforts focus on exposing and educating Vietnamese physicians to new techniques of diagnosis and management. Recognizing the practical limitations of medicine in Vietnam, we have begun developing a new leukemia protocol with the intent to increase (ALL) survival to well over 50% in the next three years. We hope to expand these efforts to other cancers and develop further research studies to improve understanding and treatment worldwide.