On September 29, for the 8th Scientific Summit held at the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the Institut Curie recalled that there is an urgent need to act and that concrete solutions exist. This session was in particular an opportunity to present examples of prevention strategies implemented in East Africa, Colombia and Serbia, and international clinical and translational research carried out on cervical cancer.
Cancer care is a sad example of inequalities in access to health in the world and cervical cancer is one of the most glaring markers.
While cervical cancer is detected early and can be well cured, it remains one of the leading causes of cancer death among women in developing countries. Each year the situation worsens and faced with this situation, there is an urgent need to intensify cooperation with these countries.
Bringing its expertise in care and the excellence of its research to countries where this cancer is still very deadly: one of the missions of Institut Curie
Institut Curie, a reference center in the treatment of women’s cancers, actively participates in research in this field, particularly in collaboration with other centers in Europe and Latin America. On the clinical side, the development of new treatments against advanced cervical cancers and recurrences is very active there (therapeutic vaccines against HPV, new immunotherapies, etc.).
Aware of the scale of the challenge, Institut Curie is stepping up its aid to developing and least developed countries. For example, to support Tanzania, a country of 60 million inhabitants, in a very precarious situation in terms of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Institut Curie is co-piloting a project aimed at developing early diagnosis and doubling the number of radiotherapy devices, essential in the treatment of cancer of the cervix.
Investing in research is also imperative, in order to offer the most personalized treatments possible. Of more than 100 HPV types, two are responsible for approximately 70% of all cervical cancer cases worldwide. One of the major challenges is to understand the impact of these subtypes on uterine tumours.
“Inequalities in the face of cervical cancer are one of the symbols of inequalities in access to health in the world. We must reverse this trend, and make this cancer the example of international medical and scientific cooperation and solidarity. The stakes are enormous, since we have the possibility of avoiding hundreds of thousands of cancers over the next decade”, explains Prof. Christophe Le Tourneau, medical oncologist, head of the department of early clinical trials at Institut Curie and professor of medicine at the University of Paris-Saclay, and chairman of the conference at the UN.
Cervical cancer affects more than 600,000 women every year worldwide and kills 342,000, especially in developing countries.
Cervical cancer: the WHO priority for 2022
The World Health Organization (WHO) has made equal access to healthcare one of its founding principles. Whatever her social origin and her territorial affiliation, a woman must have a real hope of being taken care of in time, or of being offered an appropriate treatment.
But the reality is quite different: almost 90% of deaths occur in developing countries, where cervical cancer care is the most burdensome, due to limited access to public health services. as well as lack of testing and treatment. It is even the leading cause of cancer death among women in 40 countries. In 2020, it is estimated that more than 600,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and 342,000 died from it. Africa is particularly affected.
The WHO has made it a priority in 2022: cervical cancer would be completely preventable thanks to two effective and complementary interventions: HPV vaccination and screening. These prevention approaches have reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in high-income countries, where vaccination is offered from age 11 and regular Pap smear screening from age 25 to 65. Reaching the 90-70-90 targets set by the WHO is imperative (anti-HPV vaccination for 90% of 15-year-old girls; screening using a high-performance test for 70% of women aged 35 and 45 years old; treatments for 90% of women diagnosed).
Thursday, September 29, 2022, UN, New York, International session (2h)
“Cervical cancer as a revealing example of worldwide disparities in cancer prevention and care”
- Pr Christophe Le Tourneau, medical oncologist, head of the early clinical trials department, Institut Curie and professor of medicine at the University of Paris-Saclay
- Pr Fabrice Lecuru, Head of the Gynecological Oncology Department, Institut Curie and Professor of Surgery, University of Paris Cité
- Dr Maud Kamal, Scientific Manager of the Early Clinical Trials Department, Institut Curie
- Chairs Dr. Carolina Wiesner & Prof. Christopher Le Tourneau
Introduction: Prof. Christophe Le Tourneau (Head, Department of Drug Development and Innovation, Institut Curie, Paris, France)
Talk 1: Epidemiology (Dr. Carolina Wiesner, Director, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia)
Talk 2: Global Prevention Strategies (Dr. Partha Basu, Deputy Head, Early Detection, Prevention & Infections Branch, WHO, International Agency for Research & Cancer, Lyon, France)
Talk 3: Local Prevention Strategies: example of East Africa (Prof. Hussein Kidanto, Associate Dean, Aga Khan University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Nairobi, Kenya)
Talk 4: Local Prevention Strategies: example of Colombia (Dr. Carolina Wiesner, Directora, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia)
Talk 5: Local Treatment Strategies: example of Serbia (Prof. Aljosa Mandic, head of gynaecology oncology department and president of Serbian society of gynaecology oncology, Oncology Institute of Vojvodina, Serbia)
Talk 6: International Clinical and Translational Research (Prof. Fabrice Lecuru, Head of Gynecological Surgery, Department of Surgery & Dr. Maud Kamal, Head, Scientific Coordination Unit, Department of Drug Development and Innovation, Institut Curie, Paris, France)
Conclusions Dr. Carolina Wiesner
The Institut Curie, the leading French center for the fight against cancer, combines an internationally renowned research center and a state-of-the-art hospital complex that treats all cancers, including the rarest. Founded in 1909 by Marie Curie, the Institut Curie brings together over 3 sites (Paris, Saint-Cloud and Orsay) more than 3,700 researchers, doctors and caregivers around its 3 missions: care, research and teaching. Recognized as a public utility foundation since 1921, authorized to receive donations and legacies, the Institut Curie can, thanks to the support of its donors, accelerate discoveries and thus improve treatment and the quality of life of patients. For more information: curie.fr
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