Hematological malignancies, including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system. In Malawi, these cancers account for a significant proportion of cancer cases, and their treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. To answer this need, UNC Project Malawi, Baylor Global Hope and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) have collaborated to improve patient care outcomes with a newly formed Hematological Malignancy Board.
Comprised of medical officers, consultants, pathologists, and researchers from Baylor, KCH, and UNC, the multidisciplinary board will meet weekly to discuss hematological malignancy cases and review clinical trials. Matthew Painschab, MD, the director of adult oncology research for UNC Project Malawi and associate professor of hematology, says the board was formed to help KCH oncology specialists, as well as trainees, become more directly involved in the care of patients with hematologic malignancies.
“This collaboration will allow knowledge to be shared across environments, with standardized approaches to treatment across the cancer center for patients with hematologic malignancies,” said Painschab.
In addition to patient care coordination, the team will review published research, as well as standards of practice, in an effort to eventually streamline all processes. This will ensure patients have access to the most efficacious therapy available in Malawi, whether it is with UNC Project Malawi, KCH, Baylor-GH, or another treatment center.
“These meetings will also provide an opportunity to review clinical trials that are enrolling so that we can introduce eligible patients. The team is excited to have this close collaboration and to learn from different perspectives that will improve skills and knowledge. We believe there should be no barriers for patients who are seeing doctors from the different organizations.”
A cohesive working group will be crucial for providing the best possible care to patients with hematological malignancies. As a collaboration with Baylor, KCH, and UNC, the board not only introduces a unique opportunity to enhance patient care and improve outcomes, it establishes a new standard for world-class cancer centers around the globe.