Yoanna S Pumpalova
Recipient of 2022 President's Global Innovation Fund
Project: "Early Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis and Global Oncology Capacity Building in South Africa"
Global Center: Nairobi
Project Description: Columbia University, through the Mailman School of Public Health, the Irving Medical Center, the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), and the Vagelos College for Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), is committed to furthering the field of global oncology by partnering with institutions in SSA to build capacity and conduct research that improves local cancer outcomes.
The proposed PGIF project leverages existing research relationships between HICCC, the Mailman School of Public Health and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban, South Africa, as well as the resources of the Columbia University Global Center in Nairobi to address the emerging colorectal cancer crisis in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa. In the proposed project, cancer epidemiology researchers from HICCC will partner with clinicians and researchers at UKZN to establish a prospective cohort study of symptomatic South African patients referred for colonoscopy and test the feasibility of stool based point of care testing to promote the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer in this setting.
Further, the project will build capacity in the field of global oncology by pairing first-year medical students from VP&S with an Internal Medicine registrar (equivalent to a resident in the US training model) from UKZN to initiate data collection and interim data analysis of the prospective cohort study. Funds from PGIF will be used to fund the Global Oncology Summer Research elective for the VP&S students and to support the professional development of the Internal Medicine registrar from UKZN.