Dear colleagues in the modelling community,
We are witnessing unprecedented times in the age of COVID-19 and its emerging worldwide impact. We know that many of you have been impacted in a profound way by the current crisis in your personal and working lives and that many of you are involved in the ‘front line’ of modelling activities.
We are all aware that in addition to the acute challenges health systems are now facing, the ‘secondary’ impact of the crisis on cancer and other non-communicable diseases, over the longer term, has potential to result in an even greater loss of life. Currently, there are little robust data at the global level on the impact on health services access and cancer outcomes. A COVID-19 and Cancer Taskforce has been established by cancer leaders in many countries and working under the umbrella of UICC. Two streams of work are aiming to coordinate efforts to synthesise and rapidly disseminate data to inform clinical judgements and support patient decision-making as well as health worker support while facing lockdowns and potential irregular access to treatment and care providers.
In parallel with these efforts, the COVID-19 and Cancer Taskforce would like to invite you to express your interest in being part of a coordinated effort by the modelling community to support decision-making in cancer control both during and after the crisis. Our aim is to help to configure modelling platforms and teams that can provide more informed advice to our governments, particularly those in low- and middle income countries as they rise to this overwhelming health systems challenge. Our focus on the longer-term, as well as the shorter-term, recognises that recovery strategies will be required as countries move beyond the acute phase of the crisis.
We hope to connect teams who are already working on the infectious disease dynamics in various countries, with a collaborative effort to develop a global platform for cancer control. This would utilise the best available registry and Globocan data, synthesising this information with emergent evidence on treatment uptake and evidence on the effectiveness of new therapies for cancer patients impacted by COVID-19.
The consortium concept note is included as an appendix to this letter of invitation. To submit an expression of interest to join the COVID-19 and Cancer Taskforce Global Modelling Consortium, please complete the online form.
If you have any queries, please contact the Coordinating Centre, Cancer Council NSW, Australia, on firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to have a first call of interested parties on Tuesday the 5th May (details to follow).
Please share the invitation with appropriate colleagues either in the infectious disease or cancer control modelling communities.
Yours sincerely, on behalf of the COVID-19 and Cancer Taskforce,
Prof. Karen Canfell, Cancer Council NSW, Sydney
Dr. Freddie Bray, IARC, Lyon
Dr. Julie Torode, UICC, Geneva