Project Summary


The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that cancer will become the leading cause of death in the world by 2010. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO, has estimated that by 2030, the global burden of cancer could be as high as 17 million new cases per annum. An increasing number of this cancer burden (presently more than half of all cancer and 70% of cancer deaths) will fall on the developing countries. These populations will continue to expand and age and epidemiological transitions will result in a reduction in diseases caused by infectious diseases. The World Health Assembly has recognized the cancer increase as a public health problem in resolution WHA58.2 of May 2005. [1] Major obstacles to effective cancer treatment and cancer control in developing countries are the deficiencies in human capital and material resources.

In May, 2007, The International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR), the iBarthi Foundation, Capital Technology and Information Systems (CTIS), NCI and several universities first developed the concept of Open Education Resources for Cancer (OERC). Subsequent meetings with representatives of the Hewlett Foundation were followed up with a June 2008 Steering Committee meeting at ASCO in Chicago; this meeting was attended by principals of INCTR, NCI, iBharti Foundation, of ESMO, CaBIG, and other organizations. This meeting affirmed the need for, and value of, the establishment of an open web-based repository of oncology educational materials, freely available to medical educators, trainees and health care providers.

The purpose of OERC is to create and make available to developing countries (at no cost to the user) a central access point for knowledge sharing in the realm of education for cancer control, diagnosis, treatment, care and prevention. The access would be directed at education of medical and nursing students, trainees, physicians, nurses, as well as caregivers and patients. This repository of educational materials would include lectures on power points and videos, cancer training curricula, clinical and translational research information to be gathered from contributing partners around the world and include universities, cancer centers, and research institutions. This expanded knowledge base is intended to increase the capacity for education of physicians, nurses and medical institutions hard pressed for resources to meet the challenges of cancer control and treatment of cancer patients, even in remote sites of the developing world.

In the first phase of this project, MERLOT, (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and On-Line Teaching of The California State University System) will house an online repository of donor contributed, categorized cancer learning materials (clinical guides, courses, research summaries, etc.). Contributing partners and their organizations will maintain ownership of the submitted educational material. The Creative Commons policy will guide concerns about intellectual property.

Institutions and individuals interested in becoming contributing partners and users are invited to contact ----——


Ø To enhance knowledge sharing between countries on cancer control strategies

Ø To enhance the capacities of physicians, nurses and care givers in developing countries to treat cancer patients

Ø To make available cutting edge research information on cancer care in an easily accessible format at no cost on a worldwide scale

Ø To make available latest clinical trials information to cancer patients and their physicians

Ø To put into action what was proposed in the latest WHO report on cancer for knowledge sharing[2]

Ø To contribute to the development of a research infrastructure and a research ethos for cancer care and prevention at a global level12

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