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.


-To clarify the overall direction of the OERC project the following
mission statement is provided:

· To create a open resource repository of cancer educational materials
covering diverse aspects of oncology.

· To promote global sharing of cancer educational resources as
proposed in the 2007 WHO report on cancer

· To utilize knowledge sharing to assist countries develop cancer
control strategies

· To employ educational resources to enhance the capacities of
physicians, nurses and care givers in developing countries to diagnose
and treat cancer patients

· To provide free access to cutting edge basic and clinical cancer
research information in user friendly format

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

Advisory Committee Members

Members of the OERC Advisory Committee (AC) are linked to various organizations, but do not necessarily represent organizational opinions. They are asked to provide educational content, assist in identifying new contributing members and users, and to advise on project development. New AC members are being identified and all will be included in future newsletters. Current AC members include:

1. Lawrence Lessin, Washington Cancer Institute/WHC (OERC Chair), Medical Oncologist
2. Anil Srivastava, Open Resource Expert, Open Health Systems Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery Campus
3. Aziza Shad, Georgetown University Pediatric Oncologist
4. Brenda Nevidjon, Oncology Nursing Society, Duke University
5. Dianne Kaseman, Health Care Consulting, Nursing Education
6. Elmer Huerta, MD, MPH Immediate Past President, American Cancer
Society, Washington Cancer Institute, Preventive Oncologist
7. Gracemarie Bricalli, European Society for Medical Oncology
8. Ian Magrath, President, INCTR
9. Joe Harford, Office of International Affairs, National Cancer Institute/OIA
10. Leslie Derr, National Cancer Institute/CBIIT/CaBIG
11. Norman Coleman, National Cancer Institute/DCTD
12. Raj Shah, President, Capital Technology Information Services
13. Stephan Thieringer, Across World Education Company, Inc.
14. Svetlana Jezdic, European Society for Medical Oncology
15. Victor Vuchic, Flora and William Hewlett Foundation
16. Aron Primack, MD, National Cancer Institute
17. Julie Estal, INCTR, Executive Coordinator

Footnote: [1]. Resolution WHA 58.22 states that members states should: collaborate with the Organization in developing and reinforcing comprehensive cancer control programmes tailored to the socioeconomic context, and aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality and improving the quality of life of cancer patients and their families, specifically through the systematic, stepwise and equitable implementation of evidence-based strategies for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care and to evaluate the impact of implementing such programmes.

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