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Keywords:

  • International outreach;
  • International pediatric hematology/oncology;
  • twinning programs

Abstract

The dramatic reduction of pediatric cancer mortality rates has been one of the greatest accomplishments of contemporary medicine. About 80% of children with cancer are now expected to be cured by current therapies. However, most of the world's children have no access to cancer treatment. The translation of effective pediatric cancer therapies to impoverished regions of the world presents an enormous challenge to the health care profession. Over the past 20 years, efforts have been under way to extend adequate cancer treatment to an increasing number of children in developing countries. These initiatives, collectively designated “twinning programs,” consist essentially of a partnership between a pediatric cancer unit in a developing country and a group of health care providers in the developed world. Here we review the twinning programs that have been implemented in Central America, discuss their impact on the development of local resources and the outcome of childhood cancer, and propose a collaborative research initiative aimed at improving the international dissemination of progress in pediatric hematology-oncology. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.