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The global oncology program puts faculty expertise in virology and cancer, AIDS-associated malignancies, global cancer prevention, and global clinical trials to work, addressing the growing international disparities in cancer incidence and death.


While collaboration with researchers outside of the U.S. was part of the National Cancer Act of 1971, the emergence of genomic technologies and the understanding that cancer is many different diseases makes a global perspective essential to progress. UNC Lineberger’s Global Oncology Program’s global mission currently includes clinical sites in the United States, Brazil, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, India, and China.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer accounted for 8.8 million deaths in 2015, the last year for which data is available, and are predicted to rise to more than 14.6 million deaths in 2035. Many of those are preventable deaths and there are large inequalities between the U.S. and developing countries. Currently, more than half of all cancer cases occur in developing countries, and the rate is expected in continue to increase.

UNC Lineberger’s Global Oncology Program is led by Blossom Damania, PhD (, professor of microbiology and immunology. The program’s resource director is Dirk Dittmer, PhD (, professor of microbiology and immunology. Both are members of UNC Lineberger.