HIV-associated Lung Malignancy Research Center Projects and Cores


Project 1: Characterization of the clinical epidemiology of lung cancer and relationship to HIV-1 infection in Uganda and Tanzania

Simon Kasasa, Project Co-Lead
Bruce Kirenga, Project Co-Lead
Sayoki Mfinanga, MD, PhD,  Project Co-Lead
Robert Salata, MD, Project Co-Lead
Fredrick Schumacher, PhD, MPH, Project Co-Investigator

This project will provide an overall picture of lung cancer in East Africa specifically in Uganda and Tanzania and clarify the role of HIV-1 infection as a risk factor for lung cancer and progression. Researchers will examine the clinical and demographic features of patients with lung cancer, HIV-1 infection status, laboratory and radiographical findings, and treatments administered as well as identify epidemiological risk factors.

Project 2: Molecular determinants of lung cancer in HIV infected and uninfected individuals in Uganda and Tanzania

Stanton L. Gerson, MD, Project Lead
Immaculate Nankya, PhD, Project Co-Investigator
Navid Sadri, MD, Project Co-Investigator

Researchers will assess molecular risks and co-incidence of lung cancer, HIV and accelerated aging as a factor in lung cancer incidence and progression in HIV infected compared to uninfected individuals.

Project 3: Artificial Intelligence for Lung Cancer Characterization in HIV affected populations in Uganda and Tanzania

Anant Madabhushi, PhD, Project Lead
Harriet Kisembo, MBChB, MMed (Rad), Project Co-Lead
Amit Gupta, MD, Co-Investigator

In this project, we will develop a radiomics-based machine classifier called LunIRiS (Lung Image Risk Score) for predicting risk of malignancy for a nodule on a chest computed tomography (CT) or X-ray scan for use in patients in Uganda and Tanzania which has a higher prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) and hence TB- induced granulomas. Additionally, we will seek to employ these tools to identify possible differences in the radiographic phenotype on CT and chest X-rays between HIV+ and HIV- lung cancer patients and to employ these differences to develop HIV status specific lung cancer screening models.


Administrative Core

The Administrative Core supports research, core and mentoring activities in collaboration with Makerere University Lung Institute, Uganda Cancer Institute, Joint Clinical Research Centre, Mulago National Hospital, National Institute for Medical Research, Muhimbili Centre, Ocean Road Cancer Institute, and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center of Case Western Reserve University. The core ensures smooth communication and collaboration between the teams in the United States, Uganda and Tanzania to maximize time and resources.

Core Members

Robert Salata, MD
Bruce Kirenga, MBChB, PhD
Sayoki Mfinanga, MD, PhD
Stanton L. Gerson, MD
Sandra Rwambuya (Uganda Administrator)
Esther Ngadaya, MD (Tanzania Administrator)

Developmental Core

The Developmental Core provides infrastructure and expertise to recruit and support junior and new investigators to the field of HIV-associated cancers, especially lung cancer. The core will recruit, fund, monitor progress, provide mentorship and support the presentation of ongoing and completed research projects at the institutions in the United States, Uganda and Tanzania.

Core Members

Afshin Dowlati, MD, CWRU Core Co-Lead
Moses Joloba, MBChB, PhD, Uganda Core Co-Lead
Sayoki Mfinanga, MD, PhD, Tanzania Core Co-Lead

Pathology Core

The Pathology Core supports the goals of this U54 research collaboration, by the provision of high-quality diagnoses enabling enrollment of patients into each of the projects. The Pathology Core provides abilities to digitalize images of tissues obtained from patients in Uganda and Tanzania suspected of having lung adenocarcinoma – a lesion universally recognized as being under-reported in East Africa. The core will also engage in teaching and technology transfer to sites in East Africa, as deficiencies in pathology services are regarded as one of the most pressing problems to the improvement of the delivery of health care in Africa.

Core Members

Joseph Willis, MD, CWRU Core Co-Lead
Robert Lukande, MBChB, MMed, Uganda Core Co-Lead
Sayoki Mfinanga, MD, PhD, Tanzania Core Co-Lead
Innocent Mosha, MD, Tanzania Core Co-Investigator