Comment on BL Treatment Protocol

INCTR would like to share the perspectives of the doctors who look after the many young people enrolled on the INCTR Burkitt Lymphoma treatment protocol.

“Because of pervasive and grinding poverty, a diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma in Nigerian children was a death sentence until the INCTR protocol came along with free drugs for its management. This protocol has not only brought succor, but hope and joy – hope for a fulfilled and normal life and joy to families of children saved from this scourge” – Prof Olugbenga Adeodu, Consultant Pediatrician, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Dr Adeodu is a co-Principal Investigator (PI) on the protocol.

“The INCTR Burkitt Lymphoma Treatment Program has brought succor to many homes in Nigeria since it started in 2004; otherwise what hope is there for a child living with Burkitt lymphoma, a potentially curable cancer, whose parents are unable to even get transport fare of about $2 to the hospital in order to have access to free cytotoxic drugs? The parents are forever grateful to the donors” – Professor and Consultant Hematologist, Dr Muheez Durosinmi, OAUTHC , Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Dr Durosinmi is a PI on the protocol.

“St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor is the third largest hospital in Uganda and is located in Gulu in Northern Uganda - where the majority of people live on less than $1 a day and live in mud-huts with no access to running water and electricity. In this region, health care structures are few and do not have the resources and expertise to correctly diagnose and cure cancers. Access to cancer treatment is limited by insufficient health care centers, hospitals and high transportation costs. There is only one Ugandan oncologist, one radiotherapist and no hematologist. St Mary’s diagnoses more than 150 new cases of pediatric cancer per year and 60% of these have Burkitt lymphoma. It is the only center in northern Uganda providing lymphoma treatment and for the time being it is able to provide it for free. Since 2010, St Mary’s has participated in the INCTR protocol for the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma. Thanks to INCTR, we have had access to drugs otherwise not affordable for our patients and we have been able to treat 80 children with Burkitt lymphoma in less than 2 years” – Dr Valeri Calbi, Hematologist, St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor, Uganda.

“When we started this work, the cure rate of Burkitt lymphoma was less than 10% and today through this protocol, we have a one year cure rate of 70%. This is by any standard a very impressive achievement” – Prof Twalib Ngoma, Executive Director of the Ocean Road Cancer Institute. Dr Ngoma is a PI on the protocol.

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