Norman Coleman, M.D., Senior Investigator for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Cancer Research, recently gave a wide-ranging talk at the South Florida Proton Therapy Institute (SFPTI). The subject of his presentation was Frontiers in Medical Radiation Science.
Dr. Coleman reviewed the workings of various NCI departments, along with their interactions with other U.S. agencies such as the Department of Defense, as well as international affiliations with organizations such as the World Health Organization.
He noted disparities in access to radiotherapy treatment throughout the world, with nearly one-half of the world population lacking access to cancer equipment or treating professionals. To help respond to this issue, the International Cancer Expert Corps was formed. Both Coleman and Dr. Tim Williams, Medical Director of SFPTI, serve that organization, as it seeks to help transform global cancer care.
In a similar fashion, Dr. Coleman outlined how research partnerships in our own country are directed toward diminishing disparities in cancer-care delivery and improving cancer cure rates by pairing academic and community treatment centers, such as the Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota with the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
He suggested that current approaches to care delivery are making good but limited progress, and suggested the need to develop new paradigms. Areas for which he suggested attention included the study of new technology and practice models, sustained research and development, support for funding and research, better inter-agency cooperation and determination of the best procedures for distributing healthcare expertise.
In closing, Dr. Coleman cited an African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.