AIDS malignancies are a serious problem in sub-Saharan Africa because of the widespread HIV epidemic and a high burden of oncogenic viral co-infections. Antiretroviral treatment programs put into place by PEPFAR, the Global Fund and others, have resulted in a remarkable decrease in HIV-related morbidity and mortality, however, the rate of malignancies and other non-communicable diseases is rising while at the same time, the population is aging. Most medical and research institutions in Africa are ill prepared to deal with these emerging health challenges. The University of Jos and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) HIV Care and Treatment Program, established in 2002, currently provides care, treatment and support to over 20,000 HIV- infected adults and children. This university-based center is one of the largest providers of HIV care in Africa. In an effort to improve the management of AIDS-associated malignancies in West Africa and the continent, University of Jos/JUTH in conjunction with Northwestern University, proposes to build a multidisciplinary research-training program, which will build upon collaborations and enhance capacity in Nigeria by developing research teams focused on innovative collaborative endeavors in AIDS-defining malignancies (cervical cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Our primary hypothesis is that building capacity in cancer epidemiology, clinical trials, translational, and laboratory research on AIDS-defining malignancies will lead to a significant reduction in incidence and related morbidity and mortality. We will build on existing in-country training capacity provided by the United States President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Northwestern University AIDS International Training and Research Program (Northwestern-AITRP), and Medical Education Partnership Initiative Nigeria (MEPIN) to achieve our objectives in this important health priority area.
The specific aims of this proposal are: 1) advance training of HIV clinician-investigators capable of performing translational research on the pathogenesis, epidemiology, and prevention of AIDS-defining malignancies;2) initiate training of oncology clinician-investigators capable of performing clinical trial research on novel interventions for the treatment and prevention of AIDS-defining malignancies;3) develop training of pathology and virology scientists to perform research on oncogenic mechanisms and pathogenesis;4) create a multidisciplinary research team capable of performing advanced in-country research on AIDS-defining malignancies in Jos, Nigeria. We will accomplish our training goals through strong mentorship and a combination of long-term master's and PhD degree granting programs, medium-term research project-driven training experiences, short-term in-country workshops, and innovative distance learning approaches. At the end of this project, we aspire to make the University of Jos a center of excellence in the research and care of AIDS malignancies in Nigeria and West Africa.
The Northwestern and Jos University Research Training Program in HIV and Malignancies will provide clinical, laboratory and translational research training opportunities to Nigerian physicians and scientists studying AIDS-associated malignancies. The program will foster timely and clinically relevant research as well as expand established collaborations between researchers at the University of Jos and Northwestern.