Research Programmes2019-01-19T09:23:05+00:00

AORTIC African Cancer Leaders Institute (ACLI)


The goal of the AORTIC African Cancer Leaders Institute (ACLI) is to develop the next generation of leaders in cancer care, research, education, and advocacy in Africa. The ACLI supports and continues the 9th AORTIC conference theme of “Bridging the Gaps Between Science and Humanity”.

The ACLI will develop activities for individuals who commit to provide leadership in cancer for Africa. The ACLI will commission workshops, satellite meetings, exchanges, and other activities to compliment the professional competencies of ACLI participants.

Examples of appropriate leadership skills to be developed include:

  • Developing sustainable clinical practice, research and training initiatives, including funding mechanisms;
  • Advocacy skills for collaboration with cancer researchers, patients, policy makers, Ministries of Health and other governmental bodies, and the public;
  • Relationship management and development of partnerships with academic, governmental and non-governmental organizations;
  • Strategic planning;
  • Conflict management;
  • Management of gender and ethnicity issues;
  • Media relations and communication development and campaign management to improve understanding of cancer among the African public, policy makers, and others;
  • Organizational management skills such as professional groups or cancer associations.

The ACLI was conceived as a “meeting within a meeting” and took place at the biennial AORTIC meeting. ACLI participants attended the regular AORTIC scientific sessions, but also participated in meeting sessions designed specifically for the ACLI, as well as meeting with mentors individually.

Following the start-up meeting, participants are expected to maintain contact with their mentors and other individuals on a regular basis, and report on activities they have engaged in as a result of their participation.

Goals and objectives for these activities are to be set and agreed in a kick-off session with their assigned mentor. The ACLI will form the basis of an African leadership network for cancer control in Africa, which itself will have annual goals and objectives set by the Executive committee of AORTIC.

Application and Selection Process

Solicitation will go to all AORTIC members. Applicants are selected by a committee appointed by the AORTIC Council based on their potential to develop as leaders in healthcare, research, community outreach, advocacy, governmental liaison, or other critical areas of need for cancer in Africa.

Potential to take on a future leadership role in AORTIC was a major criterion for selection. Applicants must be current residents of an African country.

BIG CAT (Beginning Investigator Grant for Catalytic Research)


The key objectives of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) are to further research relating to cancers of relevance to Africa; to support training programs in oncology for health care workers and researchers, and to deal with the challenges of creating cancer control programs and to raise public awareness of cancer in Africa.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been a long-standing supporter of AORTIC’s vision for enhancing cancer research and cancer control in Africa.


The Beginning Investigator Grant for Catalytic (BIG Cat) Research, a collaboration between AORTIC and NCI, is intended to support exploratory data collection by African scientists engaged in cancer research in Africa. The BIG Cat funding is not intended to support longer term research but to catalyze subsequent application for funding from NCI and/or other sources.

The grants are not intended for principal investigators outside of Africa, although collaborative research projects are encouraged. All funds provided must be spent in Africa. Research proposals are encouraged that span the cancer continuum (descriptive epidemiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment including supportive and palliative care and behavioral research).

BIG Cat funding is intended to support research projects i.e., the funding is not intended to enhance or improve healthcare services directly but is for research aimed at forming a basis for reducing the burden of cancer in Africa.

The BIG CAT research funding is intended to support cancer research in Africa by African clinicians and scientists. The grant is $50 000 for a 2 year period.

To date BIG Cat Cohort I & II have been completed and we are currently finalizing BIG CAT Cohort III.


BIG Cat Cohort I
Adebola Adejimi (and C. Asuzu) Cancer & Traditional Healers Nigeria
Chibuike Chigbu Cervical Cancer Nigeria
Pedro Fernandez Prostate Cancer South Africa
Innocent Mutyaba Childhood Cancer Uganda
Michael Mwachiro Oesophageal Cancer Kenya
Karin Richter Cervical Cancer South Africa


BIG Cat Cohort II
Gabriel Ogun Nasopharyngeal Carcinomas in Nigerians Nigeria
Fred Okuku Impact of clinical guidelines for Kaposi’s Sarcoma in Uganda Uganda
Caroline Dickens Breast Carcinoma Receptor subtypes in HIV+ & HIV- women South Africa
Lindsay Farrant Life-limiting progressive malignant disease South Africa
Elijah Onwudiwe Treatment of women who tested positive to VIA and VILI Nigeria
Seth Wiafe Knowledge, Attitudes & Practices – early detection breast Ghana

BIG Cat Cohorts III Awardees

BIG Cat Cohorts III
Sengayi, Mazvita Burden of cancers attributable to HIV in South Africa (2005 – 2015) South Africa
Guisseve, Assucena Hormone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 in breast cancer in Mozambique: patterns of expression and relation with etiology, management and prognosis Mozambique
Kayamba, Violet Gastric cancer in Zambia: analysis of risk factors and strategies for early detection Zambia
Kirimunda, Samuel HLA class in burkitts lymphoma diagnosed East African minors Uganda
Masamba, Leo Incidence of neutropaenia and its complications in chemotherapy patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre-Malawi Malawi
Kassaman, Diana The cancer related health literacy status, information & education needs of patients in Kenya in respect to cancers of the cervix and breast Kenya
CRDF Global press release