Burjeel Holdings Oncology Conference marks 10 years, focusing on equitable solutions for cancer Care

Experts stress collaboration and innovation are key to progress

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(LtoR) Dr Juan Pablo Uribe, Dr Catharine Young, Rep Mike Kelly, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil speaking at the 10th Burjeel Holdings Oncology Conference in Washington DC
(LtoR) Dr Juan Pablo Uribe, Dr Catharine Young, Rep Mike Kelly, Dr Shamsheer Vayalil speaking at the 10th Burjeel Holdings Oncology Conference in Washington DC

Published: Thu 21 Dec 2023, 10:59 AM

The 10th anniversary of the Burjeel Holdings Oncology Conference, held in partnership with foreign policy, brought together leading global experts to tackle the complex challenges of cancer care, emphasising the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration. With cancer claiming millions of lives globally, disproportionately impacting low- and middle-income countries, the conference underscored the urgency of international action and equity in access to life-saving treatments.

Dr Catharine Young, assistant director for cancer moonshot engagement and policy at the White House, highlighted the importance of collaboration and innovation in achieving the Cancer Moonshot’s ambitious goal of a 50 per cent reduction in cancer deaths within 25 years.

Congressman Mike Kelly, co-chair of the US Congressional Cancer Caucus, stressed the critical role of congress in supporting research and patient care, advocating for funding for the National Cancer Institute and addressing access and affordability challenges. He emphasised the need to “connect people” and consider human experience. Hannah Adams, a pediatric cancer survivor, reminded the audience that “the most effective advocates put a face and a name to the child of cancer.”

The future of cancer care panel delved into the potential of AI, equity considerations, and global access. Dr Danielle Bitterman, radiation oncologist and AI Researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, emphasized AI’s potential to democratize care, while Dr Jason Hipp, chief digital innovation officer for mayo collaborative services, stressed the need for diverse data sets to ensure fairness and high-quality care for all.

Dr Anshu Jain, chief medical officer at Aster Insights, illustrated the need for equal access through the analogy of a “tall and short person reaching for a table of treatments.”

Felicia Gorordo, alternate executive director for the US, World Bank Group, highlighted the World Bank’s commitment to integrating digital health and access in its programmes.

The health equity panel focused on practical solutions. Manan Shah, vice-president of global health equity and policy partnerships at Bristol Myers Squibb, advocated for considering the social determinants of health and factors leading patients to seek care. Gary A Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, emphasised the need for scalable models for quality care in vulnerable communities.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and chairman of Burjeel Holdings, highlighted the current period as having “never been a better time to address cancer” due to increased post-pandemic resilience and health awareness. He emphasised the need for inclusion, closing health equity gaps, and increased data, technology, and training to overcome challenges.

Dr Julie Gralow, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, emphasised partnering with patients and advocates to overcome barriers.

Dr Juan Pablo Uribe, global director, health, nutrition and population and the global financing facility at the World Bank, stressed the lack of a single solution to the global funding gap.

The Burjeel Holdings Oncology Conference served as a powerful call to action, urging individuals to support research, advocate for patient-centred policies, and raise awareness.


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