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A group of investigators from LACOG and CLICaP, together with 30 young oncologists from eight Latin American countries, undertook a study called “Mentoring as an opportunity to improve research and cancer care in Latin America” (AAZPIRE Project) with the aim of assessing mentoring programs in countries in Latin America, along with obstacles and limitations to implementation. The paper was published in December, in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).  “Mentoring programs in our countries are limited and we depend on those conducted in major oncology associations, with completely different social and economic realities. This highlights the importance of creating mentorship programs in our region”, explains Dr. Martín Angel, a clinical oncologist at the Alexander Fleming Institute, in Argentina, and a LACOG investigator. He further underscored: “one of the leading benefits of mentoring programs in clinical research in Latin America will be through deeper insight into regional epidemiology, steering our health policies and ensuring better care for patients based on the prevalent pathologies.”

The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) Foundation is an organization based in Columbia, in the United States, which works to promote clinical research in prevention and treatment of gynecologic cancers, such as ovarian, cervical , endometrial, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. The foundation has a network of over 400 members and has already given support on the conduction of 350 clinical trials, reaching over 115,000 patients.  Institutions and investigators that belong to the GOG Foundation network are extremely important for the development of treatments and surgical procedures, for the quality of life analyses and prevention knowledge. The institution has support from industry and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct trials and generate results that are shared with participating members, health professionals, patients, and their families. The GOG Foundation is focused on the advances in Oncology to benefit cancer patients.  LACOG has been working in partnership with the GOG Foundation, joining forces to support clinical studies. The aim of this partnership is to extend international cooperation to provide LACOG investigators the opportunity to participate in studies conducted worldwide.  Likewise, this partnership allows LACOG to expand its portfolio of clinical trials, which extends the opportunity for Latin-American patients to participate in clinical research with the most

Between November 15th and November 20th 2020, the London Global Cancer Week was held online. The event covered discussions of the impact of the increasing incidence of cancer in emerging countries. Some members from LACOG took part in the event, including Dr. Carlos Barrios, an oncologist for the Grupo Oncoclínicas and LACOG Executive Director, and Dr. Gustavo Werutsky, an oncologist at São Lucas Hospital at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul and LACOG Chair. One of the sessions, which was hosted by LACOG and SLACOM, was dedicated to discussing the current issues on adopting technology in Latin America. Dr. Barrios was the moderator, while Dr. Werutsky was one of the speakers. "We used this panel to discuss the current clinical research scenario and its importance in generating innovation in Latin America, the barriers to its development and implementation and the possible strategies to increase the number of studies in the region", explained Dr. Werutsky. In his presentation, he addressed the importance of clinical research and ways to raise funds. Dr. Barrios mentioned that the event also discussed strategies for recruiting patients, technology assessment, and also the growing importance of collecting and analyzing big data, which is currently revolutionizing many

Currently, the LACOG Gastrointestinal Cancer Group has two ongoing studies. The objective of these studies is to create databases of prognostic and predictive factors of patients with neuroendocrine tumors (LACOG 0119) and of patients with anal cancer (LACOG / GTG 1318 - CCA). Both studies are being conducted in partnership with the Gastrointestinal Tumors (GTG) Brazilian group.  According to Dr. Rachel Riechelmann, head of Clinical Oncology at the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, president of the LACOG Gastrointestinal Cancer Group and principal investigator of LACOG 0119 and LACOG / GTG 1318 - CCA studies , these studies will help us to create an epidemiological database of two rare diseases. “Currently, there is no Brazilian or Latin American epidemiological data of neuroendocrine tumors and anal cancer. We have no information on what the most common histologic tumor subtype is, its prognosis, overall and progression-free survival rates in our region. Studies like these provide data regarding the characteristics of patient populations which help to define research strategies that are focused on these specific subgroups.”  Studies as the ones mentioned above would not be practicable without a partnership with LACOG which, according to Dr. Riechelmann, is the only collaborative research group in Latin America. “In fact, it

Latin America, as a region, has some particular characteristics when it comes to cancer treatment. In order to further the discussion on the issues surrounding neoplasms in Latin Americans, the book "Cancer Management in Latin America" has been released in two volumes. The first volume covers nasopharyngeal cancer to kidney cancer; the second discusses melanoma and the cost-effectiveness of treatments. This project was led by Dr. Maurício Fraga da Silva, the leading technician for the Radiation Oncology Service at the University Hospital of Santa Maria (Rio Grande do Sul), supported by Dr. Gustavo Nader Marta, a radiation oncologist at the Radiotherapy Department of the Sírio-Libanês Hospital (São Paulo) and Dr. Beatriz Amendola, a radiation oncologist at the Innovative Cancer Institute, in Miami, in the United States.  According to Dr. da Silva, it is probably the first book on cancer with special emphasis on Latin America, written by authors from different countries and distributed worldwide. "The contents will help with a better diagnosis and treatment of cancer by increasing readers’ understanding of neoplasms, especially in relation to the particular characteristics inherent in this region.” According to Dr. Marta, "the focus on Latin America means that we can give readers information on managing cancer

LACOG supports researchers in developing clinical studies because the group believes that partnerships between researchers and cooperative groups are essential in the search for the best treatment for cancer patients. Likewise, the partnership between cooperative groups strengthens research development. LACOG was chosen to be the South American partner of Breast International Group (BIG) Against Breast Cancer to run studies in our region. BIG is a non-profit institution based in Belgium. It has sought to encourage breast cancer research internationally for over 20 years by encouraging cooperation between its members. BIG conducts clinical trials and research programs to find better treatment options for breast cancer. Currently, the BIG network unites over 55 groups and covers more than 50 countries in six continents. The group connects thousands of hospitals and breast cancer specialists that are focused on pioneering research into the disease. This global collaboration makes it possible to reduce unnecessary duplication of effort and to share data. It also enables scientists to work collaboratively, regardless of the country they reside in. Through these partnerships, members are able to share their knowledge and exchange scientific information with several different researchers worldwide. Such alliance increases the chances of developing better treatment options for breast cancer

The incidence of cancer and its mortality rates have been increasing worldwide, especially in developing countries due to their growing and aging population. “Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cause of cancer across the world, with 549 thousand new cases and 200 thousand deaths estimated each year”, explains Dr. Vinícius Carrera Souza, an oncologist from the Instituto D'Or - Bahia and a researcher at LACOG.  According to Dr. Souza, little is known about the epidemiology, clinical-pathological characteristics, standard treatments and outcomes of advanced urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis, ureter, bladder or urethra in Latin America. “The latest estimates indicated that the incidence of bladder cancer is 7 per 100,000 in men and 2.3 per 100,000 in women. However, these data are probably underestimated due to scarcity of cancer records. Fortunately, there has been an increased interest in clinical and pathological information collection regarding metastatic urothelial cancer in Latin America.” Considering that, Dr. Souza began the Bladder Cancer Registry study (LACOG 1518). The study aims to create a Latin American multicenter database to analyze epidemiological, clinical and pathological data, treatments, outcomes and biological information from patients with recurrent / metastatic urothelial cancer. The study will cover 204 patients from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and

In September 2020, investigators from the LACOG Head and Neck Cancer Group published the results of the study:  “Health-related quality of life outcomes in head and neck cancer: results from a prospective, real-world data study with Brazilian patients treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy, conformal and conventional radiation techniques” in the well-known scientific periodical, International Journal of Radiation Oncology – Biology – Physics. The study involved 570 Brazilian patients with head or neck cancer and assessed the impact of three different types of radiotherapy: Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), conformational radiotherapy and conventional radiotherapy, on patients’ quality of life and overall survival. According to Dr. Marcos Santos, radio-oncologist at the CONFIAR-Goiânia Group and the principal investigator who carried out the study for the group, having a paper accepted for publication shows that Brazil is now playing an active part in producing the real world data that is relied upon by regulatory agencies around the world when making decisions on technology. “It also means that, if we invest in encouraging the use of IMRT to treat head and neck cancer, we can be confident that, depending on the amount, it will be of real help to patients.” The findings of the trial confirm that

Over 300 donors contributed to the fundraising activities, supported by medical oncologists from all over Brazil.  A Fundraising campaign raised BRL 184,000, between July and September, to fund research into the fight against head and neck cancer.  “A thousand tests for cancer research” was the slogan for the campaign, which was carried out in partnership with the Brazilian Group for Head and Neck Cancer - GBCP, and the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group - LACOG. The campaign was heavily featured online, supported by doctors, celebrities, influencers and patients and the results exceeded all expectations.  The basic aim of the campaign was to fund the basic costs for taking and storing a thousand laboratory tests - blood samples and biopsies. The campaign beat its target by an extra 43%, which means that it raised enough for the basic costs of 1430 tests.  This result was only possible thanks to the dedication of doctors and investigators of the GBCP who found an innovative way to win over 335 donors to the cause. Despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19, the donation page had over seven thousand hits. As well as raising funds, the campaign wanted to raise awareness of the importance of supporting research in Brazil.  According to

The delay between diagnosis and the beginning of a disease treatment is a reality for many patients, oncological or not. Such delay has a significant impact on the quality of life and, in many cases, on overall survival of patients. Seeking to describe the journey of patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer, Dr. Eldsamira Mascarenhas, a clinical oncologist at Oncologia D'Or Salvador, along with LACOG, is coordinating the observational study: The journey of patients with ALK-positive advanced lung cancer in Brazil (LACOG 1918). “We wish to understand what patients with ALK-positive advanced lung cancer face from the moment they receive the diagnosis until the beginning of treatment. With this information, we will be able to act more effectively and therefore provide earlier diagnosis and therapy”, she explains. According to Dr. Mascarenhas, studies like this are important because there has been a significant increase in cancer incidence over the years. “Developing a clinical research will answer important questions we have about this population.” Dr. Mascarenhas believes that clinical research transforms society around the world. However, Brazil still does not play a prominent role in this scenario since we have had little participation in the development of studies. For that reason, the work