Working in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council-funded Unit, based in Entebbe, Uganda, our work focusses primarily on understanding modifiable risk factors for cancer in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with the ultimate goal of facilitating cancer prevention.
There are a number of other centres in Africa conducting cancer research. However, almost all of these programmes are hospital/clinic-based whereas our particular contribution is to leverage the power of population-based research using the Unit’s General Population Cohort (GPC). Within this framework, we have shown that cancer is the most significant cause of non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths in rural Uganda (>33% of NCD deaths and >15% of all deaths) and that cancer-causing infections are amongst the most important risk factors for NCDs in the region. Hence, the majority (but not all) of our activity relates to cancer-causing infections.
Community surveillance for COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 in Uganda
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic some of our work was temporarily suspended, but, with support from the MRC we established one of the most comprehensive epidemiological studies of SARS-CoV-2 in Africa.
Studies of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) in Africa
Population-based multidisciplinary work on Kaposi’s Sarcoma associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) is a cornerstone of our activity and is unique on the continent. Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) remains one of the most common cancers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and the underlying necessary cause (KSHV), is highly prevalent.
Comparative studies of haematological abnormalities between Africa and Europe
We conduct novel research on haematological malignancies/abnormalities in Africa that links to activity in the UK. It is changing long-held paradigms concerning the geographical distribution of disease and is enhancing our understanding of pathophysiology, including for the common childhood cancer Burkitt lymphoma.
Cancer-causing infections in sub-Saharan Africa
We have developed strong collaborations for the study of important cancer-causing infections in Uganda: Human papillomavirus (HPV), Helicobacter pylori and Hepatitis Viruses. Much of this work has evolved into significantly larger multi-country investigations.