Conquer Cancer Foundation Awards Grants to Drive International Cancer Care Advances

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Thomas G. Roberts, Jr, MD

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO has awarded four 2016 International Innovation Grants to organizations developing projects with the potential to revolutionize cancer control in low- and middle-income countries. This year’s grants will support research in India, Nepal, Uganda, and the Philippines and focus on the cost of childhood cancer; leveraging mobile technology in cervical cancer screening and diagnosis; and facilitating doctor-patient dialogue through a paired computerized system and mobile application.

“The International Innovation Grant program demonstrates the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s global vision of creating a world free from the fear of cancer in action,” said Thomas G. Roberts, Jr, MD, Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. “Recipients’ projects not only address the distinct needs of their local communities, but they also display great potential to address similar needs of communities in other countries. The possible ripple effect from supporting this research is invaluable.”

The program provides 1-year grants of up to $20,000 to nonprofit organizations and government agencies in low- and middle-income countries to improve cancer control on a local community level, while also being potentially applicable in similar low-resource settings elsewhere. The research projects selected, therefore, differ in many ways from traditional or standard practice in high-income areas.

The projects selected for the 2016 International Innovation Grants are: 

A Multi-site Prospective Study to Determine Household Out-of-Pocket Expenditure Incurred by Families of Children Newly Diagnosed With Cancer in India (HOPE Study)

CanKids...KidsCan, India
Ramandeep Singh Arora, MBBS, MD

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children place a considerable economic burden on families. This has been frequently described in the context of high-income countries, where costs may be covered by public or private insurance and social support mechanisms. However, there is limited knowledge of these economic burdens in low- and middle-income countries like India, where medical insurance and social support programs are usually not available.

In this study of 400 children newly diagnosed with cancer, researchers will examine the direct costs experienced by families and how these costs vary by demographic, disease-related, and treatment-related variables. This information will contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of these costs, their impact on families and health outcomes, and the role of governmental and nongovernmental assistance. The results of this study will inform future resource allocation and mobilization efforts in India and other low- and middle-income settings.

Using mHealth Technologies to Ensure Continuum of Care in Cervical Cancer Screening in Kailali District of Nepal

Nepal Fertility Care Center, Nepal
Sarita Ghimire, MD

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide and one of the most common cancers in Nepali women.1 Low levels of education, a lack of awareness, and limited access to screening and care result in most cases of cervical cancer in Nepali women being left undiagnosed and untreated, and a high mortality rate.

This study will evaluate the impact of a mobile health (mHealth) technology-based text-messaging program on the rate of follow-up for women with abnormal cervical cancer screening results. If effective, this strategy of improving access to treatment could be implemented on a larger scale and for other diseases in Nepal and other low- and middle-income countries.

Smartphone Tool to Improve Detection of Precancerous Lesions in Uganda, Using VIA (Visual Inspection With Acetic Acid)

PACE (Programme for Accessible Health, Communication and Education), Uganda
Dennis Rogers Buwembo, MBChB, MPH

Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) is a cost-effective method of screening for cervical cancer, but has not been implemented to scale in Uganda, where cervical cancer is the most common malignancy in women2. Additionally, VIA is a highly subjective screening method, subject to high rates of variability among individual providers.

This study will explore whether that variability can be reduced by improving the visualization of the cervix for precancerous lesions after the application of acetic acid using a smartphone-based application with magnification, light filters, and other features. This simple, low-cost technology, if effective at improving detection rates, could be used worldwide in settings where VIA is already being used.

Use of Mobile Application to Monitor Pain Control of Cancer Patients

University of Santo Tomas Hospital, Philippines
Teresa Tan Sy Ortin, MD

Two key components of cancer treatment are symptom and side-effect management, which often involve managing pain. The effectiveness of pain interventions depends on the quality of patient reporting as well as patient compliance, which can be improved through the use of mobile technology.

Researchers in this study will develop a mobile application that will enable patients to immediately communicate their level of pain to physicians instead of using a pain diary, allowing for more timely treatment responses. The study will evaluate the application’s use by patients and physicians, as well as its impact on pain reporting and management. The results of this study could inform future mHealth development and improve quality of life for patients with cancer worldwide.

To learn more about how the Conquer Cancer Foundation supports cancer research and provides funding opportunities for oncology professionals, visit The 2016 International Innovation Grants are supported by ASCO International and Amgen. This list is current as of Dec 18, 2015.


1. Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers in Nepal. WHO/ICO Information Centre on HPV and Cervical Cancer (HPV Information Centre), 2015.

2. Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers in Uganda. WHO/ICO Information Centre on HPV and Cervical Cancer (HPV Information Centre), 2015.

© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.