World Cancer Day 2023: Close the Care Gap

  • World Cancer Day is an annual global event on 4 February.
  • It’s led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
  • The organisation aims to unite efforts and eradicate cancer for good.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’, highlighting global inequities in cancer care.

Cancer is a leading cause of mortality for the world’s population, accounting for almost one in six deaths. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10 million people died from the disease in 2020 alone. Fortunately, one organisation – the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) – is leading efforts to eradicate cancer for good. Each year on 4 February, the UICC organises World Cancer Day – an awareness day to unite global efforts in the fight against cancer.

2023’s theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’. Across the world, disparate rates of access to essential medicine and healthcare mean that many people aren’t able to get essential treatment for cancer. As a result, people are dying who could have been saved. Health inequity can also be seen in how people from certain ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by different types of cancer. But as the UICC organisers say, no matter what your background, the care gap and inequities in cancer care affect everyone – not only those not currently being served by cancer research.

It’s important that everyone has equal access to vital cancer treatments – and that we close the care gap once and for all.

We spoke to Cary Adams, CEO of UICC, about how researchers can take part in the annual event. Read on below to find a short excerpt, or you can read the full article here. We also round up the latest research on cancer, so keep reading to discover the latest work on cancer research.

Research Features interview: Cary Adams, CEO of UICC

 World Cancer Day, which takes place every 4 February, is a key platform of UICC’s. What role can researchers play?

Cary Adams, CEO of UICC, the organisation that runs World Cancer Day.

World Cancer Day is a completely open day and environment for everyone who has a passion for cancer research and wants to get involved. We design it specifically around a broad theme. [This year’s theme is ‘Close the Care Gap’.]

“Everyone who is reading this, or is involved in cancer, can do something on World Cancer Day.”

We provide fact sheets and bullet-point information for people to use to reach out to their communities; or at least to reach out to newspapers, journals, and the media more generally, and through social media to get messages out which are consistent with the overall messaging that we try to coordinate from Geneva. We provide a framework within which we give latitude for people to operate. So, we’re not going to be very specific, and tell you that you must say something about a particular cancer or something about vaccinations.

We allow every individual to use World Cancer Day as a framework through which they can project their own views, their own ideas on what they’re doing on cancer. So, for example, any researcher who’s involved in something to do with cancer can use this day to project what they’re doing, and they can use it to reach out to local cancer organisations to collaborate. And there are also many people that use it to raise funds and/or run events. This is a great opportunity to use 4 February to project your messages, to get across your interests and your ideas, to a media that’s ready to take those ideas on.

Blocking cancer’s escape routes in drug therapy

Dr Gabriela Chiosis and the other researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Chiosis lab research the plasticity of cancer cells in an effort to manipulate the 'network hyperconnectivity and develop new personalised cancer treatments through blocking escape routes for the cancer cells.
  • The resistance of certain cancer cells to current drug regimens is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in tackling the disease.
  • At the centre of this is a cell’s ability to evade the effects of cancer therapies by rerouting interactions between proteins.
  • A large team of researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led by Professor Gabriela Chiosis, have found a way to temporarily block these escape routes.

Chaperone-mediated autophagy: A new player in cancer research?

Professor Helin Norberg and her team study chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) and generated a LAMP-2A KO model in human cancer cells.

  •  Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is important in various diseases and requires a protein called LAMP-2A to function.
  • Until recently, there were no human knockout (KO) cancer models due to difficulties in genetic editing of the associated gene.
  • Dr Helin Norberg and her team have successfully generated highly specific human LAMP-2A knockout cell models to study its role in multiple cancers.

The role of protective immune genes in cancer disparities

  • Dr Sean Kimbro explores the association between genetic variations of the immune system and aggressive forms of breast and prostate cancer that occur disproportionately in African Americans.
  •  These genetic variations contribute to several disease disparities, including diabetes, obesity, and breast and prostate cancer.
  • Kimbro hopes his findings can be applied to developing cancer therapies that will be more effective for African Americans and other populations around the world that have been understudied and underserved.

Further reading:

World Cancer Day, (2023) [online] World Cancer Day: Close the Care Gap. [Accessed 27/01/23].

Chiosis, G, Joshi, S, UICC, Chief Executive Office: Cary Adams. [online] UICC. [Accessed 27/01/23].

WHO, (2022) Cancer. [online] World Health Organization. [Accessed 27/01/23].



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