Potential for cancer research collaborations in Africa: a clinical scientist’s opinion

By Dr Henry Adeola


I have been a member of the PhD cancer research mentorship program here at UCT for a couple of months now; and I have mused over the ultimate impact of this group. A question like “are we tapping into the full potential of the group or are we still scratching the surface?” remains moot. However, putting together an unbiased opinion regarding the tremendous potentials for cancer research in Africa is imperative. On the strength of my experience as a clinician as well as a scientist, I believe that team science that involves collaborative effort between scientists and clinicians is the best approach to address some of the peculiar scientific questions in evidence-based translational cancer research arena in Africa.

Since its inception, the mentorship group members have been granted access to giants in the field of cancer research both on the clinical and scientific front. In addition, its interactive environment allows for exchange of scientific ideas, and stringent peer review. Several scientific research meetings have been planned and executed for the benefit of this mentorship group with the university’s academic resource support.

The diversity and heterogeneity of research projects and scientific background (clinical and scientific) of its group members is undoubtedly a plus for the group. In my opinion, I believe this PhD mentorship group has huge future prospects of becoming a true African model of multidisciplinary research and providing huge cancer research resources to the rest of Africa, albeit it is a relatively small group and most of its members at currently in PhD training.