This application is to establish the UNC-Malawi Cancer Consortium (UNC-MCC), to develop capacity and conduct high-impact research focused on HIV-associated cancers. The consortium builds on longstanding collaborations between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lighthouse Trust, Malawi Ministry of Health, and University of Malawi College of Medicine. These partnerships have resulted in internationally recognized contributions for HIV care and prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. This infrastructure can now be leveraged for HIV-associated malignancies. UNC-MCC is focused on the herpesvirus-associated cancers, Kaposi sarcoma (KS), and lymphoma. Our consortium will be led by three principal investigators with highly complementary expertise (Satish Gopal MD, clinical research;Sam Phiri PhD, implementation science;Blossom Damania PhD, virology). The Administrative/Coordinating Core (Admin Core) for the consortium will be led by the overall consortium co-PIs, supported by strong administrative units at their respective institutions. It will oversee operation, coordination, management, and evaluation of individual cores as well as the consortium as a whole. It will assist all core leaders with operational and budgetary aspects, including submission of progress reports, communication between consortium partners, and communication with NCI. The core will organize activities that enhance collaborations with other partners within Malawi, as well as partners and consortia outside Malawi in other sub-Saharan African countries and the US. These activities will improve technical capacity and clinical research practices specifically related to HIV-associated malignancies at partner institutions. The core's specific aims include: (1) to develop shared, dedicated administrative infrastructure to support cancer activities across all UNC-MCC partner institutions;and (2) to provide administrative support to strengthen existing partnerships and cancer collaborations with partners and consortia external to UNC-MCC. To achieve these aims and support overall success of the consortium as a whole. Admin Core will build on strong, independent administrative units at Lighthouse Trust and UNC Project-Malawi. These have been principal contributors to successes of both programs to date, and have proven records of successfully administering grants to support care and research activities in Malawi. By expanding and strengthening ties between these units, to streamline and augment the available administrative resources for HIV-associated cancer care and research. Admin Core will provide strong support to achieve overall UNC-MCC goals.
The UNC-Malawi Cancer Consortium will address herpesvirus-associated cancers among HIV-infected individuals in Malawi through research and capacity building. The Administrative/Coordinating Core for the consortium will provide and strengthen in-country administrative resources to support these goals.