The etiologic role of human papilloma virus (HPV) infection in human cervical carcinoma, and of human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8/KSHV) in Kaposi's sarcoma, is clear. Both malignancies are exacerbated in incidence and severity under the immunological dysfunction induced by HIV-1 co-infection. In regions of sub-Saharan Africa where HIV-1 incidence remains high, infection with either HPV or KSHV/HHV-8 can lead to increased likelihood of malignancy even if HIV-1 is not a contributor and even if retroviral disease is controlled through antiretroviral treatment. At the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Kaposi's sarcoma and cervical cancer are the leading cancers among males and females, respectively, so it is critical to understand the molecular epidemiology and viral genotypes involved in cancer development in the region and to define any potentially effective immune responses against these viruses for potential vaccines or preventive strategies. A partnership between ORCI and two branches of the University of Nebraska has been established to investigate these issues and to increase ORCl's research capacity. The partnership will provide an environment for training and information/technology exchange that will increase the intellectual and research capacity among Tanzanian medical practitioners. This Core will be divided between the Nebraska Center for Virology (NCV) and the ORCI Laboratory Section to provide technical support for the two research arms to be conducted jointly by trainees in Nebraska and Tanzania. This Core will also provide capacity building and foster training and educational opportunities for technology and expertise transfer to Tanzanians in both locations through workshops and hands-on training exercises.
Specific aims are to: 1) provide carefully curated patient data collection and storage, coupled with patient sample procurement, on-site processing, and long-term archival storage for all aspects of the Consortium;2) develop and implement in-country diagnostics for HPV and HHV-8 focused on PCR-based strain differentiation and serological methods, respectively;and 3) serve as an education/research training center for Tanzanian medical fellows and others to support cancer research collaborations and enhance local and regional expertise.
The Laboratory Core Facility will provide previously non-existent research capacity via instrumentation, diagnostics, training, and expertise to two study-funded research projects and will foster sustainable collaborations with other Tanzanian health professionals. The research laboratory capacity will enhance Tanzanian efforts to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment for cancer and other malignancies.