Burkitt Lymphoma Project Implementation Meeting

Immediately after the pathology meeting on haematological neoplasms, a smaller implementation meeting took place relating to the BL project entitled "Developing a total model of care for Burkitt lymphoma" referred to in the January 2014 Newsflash. In the course of this meeting, chaired by Melissa Adde, all aspects of the project were discussed and plans made for the next 3-4 month period. During this time it will be necessary to audit data collection ongoing at the Bugando Medical Center and St Mary's Hospital, Lacor, to determine whether the the participating centers have reached a sufficient level to actively participate in the next treatment protocol. In addition, educational tools will be developed to ensure that the public and the physicians and medical assistants they are likely to consult are familiar with the signs of this disease and it is promptly referred to the nearest hospital capable of treatment (very few physicians in Africa have had oncology training, and in many African countries only 3-4 hospitals in the entire country can administer therapy - often inadequate because patients may have to bear the cost. Burkitt lymphoma has a median age of 7 years. It occurs, however, at all ages, although jaw tumors - a highly characteristic feature of Burkitt lymphoma, and orbital tumors, which can easily be confused with retinoblastoma - occur at highest frequency (when combined with orbital tumors, which often occur in association with jaw tumors, almost 100%) in children aged 2-4 years. The are uncommon in adults. This tumor can be cured with chemotherapy alone, and at present, after treating more than 700 patients with Burkitt Lymphoma according to a protocol developed by INCTR's African Clinical Studies Group, over 60% are alive 5 years after treatment.

INCTR is grateful to OFID and to other INCTR branches and members of the public who are supporting this project. A full report of accomplishments to date will be prepared in June.

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