This application is to establish the Malawi Cancer Consortium (MCC), aimed at developing capacity and conducting high-impact research focused on HIV-associated cancers in our setting. MCC builds on longstanding collaborations between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), Lighthouse Trust, Malawi Ministry of Health (MOH), and University of Malawi College of Medicine (COM). These partnerships have resulted in internationally recognized contributions for all scientific aspects of HIV care and prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. Achievements have been made possible by our leadership and participation in NIH-sponsored networks which conduct clinical trials and epidemiologic research throughout the region. Substantial infrastructure can now be leveraged for HIV-associated malignancies, which remain overwhelming contributors to cancer burden in Malawi even in the era of antiretroviral therapy (ART) scale-up. Our consortium is particularly focused on the herpesvirus-associated cancers, Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and lymphoma. MCC 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). MCC will include three support cores (Administrative/Coordinating, Mentoring/Career Development, Applied Analytics) and three research projects as outlined in this application. The three research projects include (1) a record linkage study between the Malawi National Cancer Registry and large HIV cohorts in Lilongwe and Blantyre to clarify changing patterns of cancer risk in the ART era; (2) a cohort study to elucidate HIV-associated KS subsets in Lilongwe to improve outcomes; and (3) a cohort study to develop risk-adapted, response-guided treatment of HIV-associated lymphoma in Lilongwe. To support MCC objectives, a diverse team of investigators has been assembled spanning the clinical, population, and basic sciences, and includes Malawian and US scientific leaders in Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Chapel Hill, as well as other select international collaborators. MCC will enhance existing administrative, operational, and research relationships between all partnering institutions and investigators. The External Advisory Board (EAB) and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will respectively ensure that MCC remains highly responsive to community needs in Malawi, while also addressing urgent research questions facing the international HIV-associated cancer community. A focus for MCC is to develop sufficient internal capacity such that Malawi can become a leading country for HIV-associated cancer research, as it has long been for HIV care and treatment. Building on prior successes and partnerships outlined in this application, MCC is extremely well-positioned to catalyze a broad, coordinated, cancer control effort in Malawi, and advance the overall NCI scientific agenda for sub-Saharan Africa.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/19


  • NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI)


Africa South of the Sahara
Research Personnel
Cohort Studies
Human Herpesvirus 8