DCCPS International Activities

May 2018


In This Issue

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

Meeting Reports

Upcoming Events

Contact
Mark Parascandola, PhD, MPH
DCCPS International Research Coordinator

Ongoing Global Health Projects

Cancer Control Research Priorities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Irene Prabhu Das completed a 6-month detail with NCI’s Center for Global Health in February 2018. Dr. Prabhu Das designed and conducted an in-depth analysis of research priorities reported in national cancer control plans of low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Research that generates contextually applicable evidence is vital to accomplishing plan objectives as well as sustaining the resulting effects of cancer control strategies implemented to reduce the burden of cancer on LMIC populations. The aims of the analysis were to 1) ascertain LMICs’ approach to integrating research into their cancer control strategy; 2) identify the breadth and scope of cancer control research priorities in LMICs’ national strategy; and 3) explore how LMIC priorities might present opportunities for mutually beneficial research collaborations with the US and other countries, and inform research infrastructure development. This is the first analysis examining LMIC research priorities that may accelerate cancer control efforts at the local level. The analysis revealed a broad range of research-related priorities across the cancer continuum, reflecting several types of research. A paper is being finalized for publication. Please contact Irene Prabhu Das for more information on the analysis.

PRO-CTCAE Translated and Linguistically Validated in 15 Languages Supporting the International Conduct of Cancer Clinical Trials
A key accelerator of widespread implementation of Patient-Reported Outcomes version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE) in both international and US trials is the availability of linguistically and culturally adapted outcome measures. Supported by Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between NCI and Genentech, and NCI and Bristol Myers Squibb, PRO-CTCAE has now been linguistically validated in 11 new languages, specifically Czech, Dutch, Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Greek, Canadian French, European French, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, and German.

All 124 items in the PRO-CTCAE item library were translated and linguistically validated using ISPOR best practices, including cognitive interviewing to determine if the translations captured the concepts of the original PRO-CTCAE, and to evaluate comprehension, clarity, and ease of judgement. Cognitive interview probes addressed the 78 PRO-CTCAE symptom terms (e.g., fatigue), attributes (e.g., severity), response choices, and phrasing of ‘at its worst’. Items that met the a priori threshold of ≥20% of respondents with comprehension difficulties were considered for rephrasing. Interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of native speakers (pooled sample n=521; 50% female; mean age 53 years, range 18-89) recruited in 13 countries. All had received cancer-directed treatment within the past 6 months for a solid (n=426) or hematologic malignancy (n=75). The sample was enriched for older adults (23%), lower educational attainment (22%), and poor performance status (53%).

Across languages the median comprehension rate for the 78 symptom terms was 100% (range 82% to 100%). PRO-CTCAE symptom terms with the lowest comprehension rates were ‘cracking at the corners of the mouth’ (82%), hand-foot syndrome (84%), painful urination (85%), wheezing (85%), and stretch marks (90%). Across languages, the attributes and response choices were generally well understood and acceptable to most respondents. 25% of Polish-speaking respondents noted some judgement difficulties when distinguishing two response options for interference (a little bit/somewhat), although the phrasing was comprehensible and no acceptable alternative was identified. The phrasing for ‘severity at its worst’ was well understood in 10 of 11 languages; however, 42% of Russian speakers indicated that judgements about ‘severity at its worst’ were challenging to make due to cumbersome phrasing. Revised phrasing was retested with additional Russian speakers (n=22) with 100% comprehension and ease of judgement.

Overall, these study results demonstrate that these 11 new language versions of the PRO-CTCAE item library are conceptually, semantically, and culturally equivalent to the original English version. Study results also support harmonization of the German and Spanish language PRO-CTCAE item libraries across countries. For more information, please contact Sandra Mitchell at Sandra.Mitchell@nih.gov.

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Global Health Research and Training Initiatives

DCCPS Cancer Prevention and Policy Fellowship Exchange Now Accepting Applications
DCCPS is now accepting applications for the Cancer Prevention and Policy Fellowship Exchange in London, England. DCCPS postdoctoral fellows with at least one year of work experience are eligible to apply. The deadline for the next exchange (slated for spring 2019) is September 1, 2018. Selected fellows will complete a 5- to 8-week exchange at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), a leading cancer research nonprofit based in the UK. The aim of the exchange is to facilitate collaboration between NCI and CRUK. Please email Mary O’Connell (digaudiom@mail.nih.gov) for the full application.

ITC Project Investigator Awards
TCRB is proud to hold major project and operating grants (two P01, one P50, and five R01) as part of The ITC Project, Exit Disclaimer the world’s most productive scientific project of tobacco use involving 150 tobacco-control researchers in 29 countries. The following ITC Project investigators have been recognized for their contributions to tobacco control research:

  • Geoff Fong, founder of the ITC Project, was elected into The Royal Society of Canada (RSC): The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Exit Disclaimer Election to the academies of the RSC is recognized as the highest honor a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences in the country.
  • Mike Cummings, Geoff Fong, Dave Hammond, Maciej Goniewicz, Ron Borland, Anne McNeill, and Frank Chaloupka were named to the Clarivate Analytics “2017 Highly Cited Researchers List”. Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate Analytics is an annual list recognizing leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world.
  • Ann McNeil and Sara Hitchman have been chosen to receive the King’s College London (KCL) Award for Most Significant Contribution to International Collaboration Exit Disclaimer for their outstanding work on the ITC Project.
  • Dave Hammond and Jim Thrasher received the WHO World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Exit Disclaimer Awards for their contributions to research on tobacco packaging and labeling, which is helping advance policies within the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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Meeting Reports

Affordable Cancer Technologies (ACT) Program Principal Investigators Meeting
Rao Divi recently organized a breakout session at the 3rd Annual Affordable Cancer Technologies (ACT) Program Principal Investigators Meeting. The meeting, held on May 10-11, 2018, at the NCI Shady Grove campus, was sponsored by the NCI Center for Global Health. Its purpose was both to give NCI program staff a chance to interact directly with PIs and receive an update on progress to date, as well as to provide an opportunity for interactions and exchanges of ideas amongst ACT grantee cohorts. Dr. Divi’s session focused on “Technologies to Address Health Disparities in Cancer.”

International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention
Frank Perna, Kasey Morris, and Jennifer Nguyen presented at the International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention Exit Disclaimer on May 1-4, 2018, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Perna organized a preconference workshop on sun safety and skin health in youth and young adults engaging in physical activity. Dr. Morris discussed health behavioral correlates of indoor tanning and a decision tree model of sun protection. Dr. Nguyen discussed provider and self-skin examinations among minorities.

International Conference of the Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention
Erik Augustson represented HHS and NCI at the Asian Pacific Quitline Network (APQN) Advisory Board Meeting and presented at The 9th General Assembly and International Conference of the Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention Exit Disclaimer (APOCP-9), held April 16-20, 2018, in Jeju Island, Korea. The key discussion topics at the meeting included strategic planning, evaluation, research development, and broadening the integration of mHealth (mobile health) cessation interventions into cessation activities across the region. While attending the APOCP-9 Conference, Dr. Augustson delivered a presentation about innovations in health behavior interventions using digital platforms. He also met with representatives from countries across the Asia-Pacific region to provide technical assistance and guidance on the development and implementation of population-level cessation and health behavior change interventions. Several of the countries with more established quitline programs are increasing their efforts to integrate SMS-text messaging cessation programs into their available clinical services. The cessation programs to be implemented are based on the NCI-developed SmokefreeTXT program.

International Cancer Research Partnership Annual Meeting
Brenda Edwards, Irene Prabhu Das, and Emily Harris attended the public meeting of the International Cancer Research PartnershipExit Disclaimer (ICRP) on April 11, 2018, which was hosted by the NCI Center for Global Health. The meeting marked 18 years of a successful partnership, representing 124 organizations that fund cancer research projects in 145 countries. ICRP’s mission is to enhance global collaboration and strategic coordination of research between individual researchers and organizations. Historically, the core of ICRP was formed by cancer research organizations based in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia; however, the partnership is now looking for ways to expand its membership to more countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America that have strong cancer research portfolios.

International Cognition and Cancer Task Force Conference
Jerry Suls attended the 2018 International Cognition and Cancer Task Force Conference Exit Disclaimer on April 9-11, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. The purpose of the task force is to advance the understanding of the impact of cancer and cancer-related treatment on cognitive and behavioral functioning in patients with central and non-central nervous system cancer. The biennial conference helps researchers stay up-to-date on research, clinical guidelines, and research projects.

Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 10-Year Anniversary Symposium
Brad Hesse gave a presentation during the “Smart Care in Oncology” session at the 10-year anniversary symposium for the Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center Exit Disclaimer on March 31, 2018, in Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Hesse’s presentation, titled "Improving Cancer-related Outcomes with Connected Health," summarized the implications of the President’s Cancer Panel Report on connected health. While in South Korea, Dr. Hesse also met with Juhee Cho of Sungkyunkwan University/Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center to learn more about the use of an electronically administered version of the Patient Reported Outcomes-Common Terminology for Cancer Adverse Events (PRO-CTCAE) at the Samsung Medical Center. He also got an overview of the Kangbuk Samsung Cohort Study, a joint effort with Johns Hopkins University that aims to follow approximately 1 million healthy people and provide them with a complete health assessment and routine cancer screening. During his trip, Dr. Hesse met with Hye-Jin Paek, a communications professor at Hanyang University, to discuss the possibility of a South Korean version of the Health Information National Trends Survey.

World Conference on Tobacco or Health
The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health Exit Disclaimer (WCTOH) was held March 7-9, 2018, in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference was attended by the Tobacco Control Research Branch representatives, Mirjana Djordjevic (TCRB), Mark Parascandola (TCRB), and Jenny Twesten (TCRB Contractor). The theme of the conference was “Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free Generation” and was attended by nearly 2,500 people representing over 125 countries. Dr. Parascandola presented on the economic benefits of comprehensive smokefree policies in Japan, smoking and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, Exit Disclaimer and youth attitudes and beliefs towards cigarette and waterpipe use in nine Middle Eastern countries. He also served as a co-chair for the pre-conference workshop “Research to Inform the Development and Implementation of Tobacco Control Policies and Interventions.” Representatives from at least 23 countries attended the workshop. Dr. Djordjevic co-chaired the symposium titled, “Reducing Toxicity in Tobacco Products: Science, Policy and Building Capacity,” where topics such as filter ventilation banning, reducing carcinogens in smokeless tobacco, and reducing in cigarettes the tobacco-specific nitrosamines were discussed.

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Upcoming Events

Caribbean Public Health Agency Workshop
Goncalo Forjaz de Lacerda, SRP Visiting Research Scientist, is leading a workshop at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on May 14-17, 2018, to use a modified SEER*Stat system for analysis of mortality data. Analysts supported by selected Caribbean countries with an interest in improving their use of vital statistics to prevent disease and promote health have been invited to join the CARPHA scientific staff for this training.

International Behavioural Trials Network Inaugural Summer School
Susan Czajkowski travels to Montreal, Canada, on May 21-26, 2018, to serve as a faculty member for the International Behavioural Trials Network’s (IBTN) inaugural Summer School. Exit Disclaimer The school will focus on designing and testing health-related behavioral interventions. Dr. Czajkowski will also serve as a discussant for a session at the IBTN conference, which takes place after the summer school session.

International Communication Association Meeting
BRP fellows Emily Peterson and Mindy Krakow are traveling to the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference to be held May 24-26, 2018, in Prague, Czech Republic. At ICA, they will serve as co-chairs for a panel on “Assessing Cross-National Trends in Public Health Communication: International Opportunities and Lessons Learned from the NCI Health Information National Trends Survey.” Panelists include representatives from HINTS-based projects in China, Guam, and Germany. Gary Kreps will provide reflections on the discussion as the panel respondent. Dr. Krakow will also present research on family communication of genetic carrier results in the NIH ClinSeq cohort in a separate panel.

World Cancer Congress
Bill Klein is traveling to the World Cancer Congress Exit Disclaimer October 1-4, 2018, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Dr. Klein will participate in a symposium on “Implementation Science to Prevent Cancer – The Global Picture,” which focuses on the intersection of research and policy development in various countries. Dr. Klein will present on how NCI’s research investments in behavioral science related to cancer control undergirds the development of effective policies at the national, state, and local levels, citing tobacco and nutrition as prime examples.

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Please visit the DCCPS website for information on funding opportunities and history and trends in international and global health research. Archives of past issues of this newsletter are also available online