The PARC Committee is pleased to announce that the Nai-Kong and Irene Cheung Family (NKICF) Career Development Award provides funding to clinical investigators associated with and working with PARC-affiliated cooperative groups that operate in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).



The 2024 NKICF Career Development has been awarded to Dr. Gabriela Inés Villanueva (Argentina) who will study the development of strategies to facilitate and incentivize the inclusion of AYA patients in regional clinical trials. Congratulations Dr. Villanueva!

Dr. Gabriela Villanueva, MD MS, is a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at the Oncology Pediatric, Adolescence and Young Adult Department at Hospital de Clínicas, Argentina and the Director of Academic Programs at Resonance Health.

She completed medical school at University of Buenos Aires, a pediatric residency at University of Illinois and a fellowship on pediatric hematology and oncology at University of Chicago, where she also received a Masters of Science in Public Health Sciences, with a focus in epidemiology and statistics.

Her current research focuses on retinoblastoma survivorship and second malignancies in Argentina and a global initiative on high-dose methotrexate supportive care, among other coordinated projects in Latin America to help advance care of AYA in Latin America. She is part of the Scientific Committee for SLAOP (Society of Latin American Pediatric Oncologists) member of the Young SIOP Network Steering group and the Co-chair for the SIOP AYA Global Health Network.

Summary of Research Study

Adolescents and young adult (AYA) patients (aged 15 to 39 years old) are a distinct population with unique epidemiology and psycho-social needs; however, there is a limited comprehensive assessment of the cancer burden for this population in most regions of the world. The Grupo América Latina de Oncología Pediátrica (GALOP) coordinated multiple prospective multicentric studies on bone sarcomas during the last decade, however those studies included mainly pediatric patients. GALOP has the objective to include AYA patients in its initiatives, recognizing AYA as an underserved and understudied population, which is more likely to receive late diagnosis and experience acute, more severe toxicities. The lack of representation in clinical trials is a major barrier for progress in AYA cancer care, hence this is a unique opportunity for GALOP to work together with regional AYA leaders (including pediatric and adult oncologists) to develop strategies to facilitate and incentivize the inclusion of AYA patients in regional clinical trials).

This study seeks to achieve the following research goals:

  • To estimate the incidence and severity of all types of treatment-related acute toxicities in AYA patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma treated in AYA cancer programs in LATAM and compare their results to pediatric data from previous GALOP protocols.
  • To assess the feasibility of implementing standardized supportive care guidelines for the main chemotherapy agents used to treat patients with osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma across participating AYA cancer programs in LATAM.
  • To collect methotrexate (MTX) pharmacokinetics data from AYA patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma and include this data in the Latin America osteosarcoma MTX Pk model.
  • To evaluate the feasibility of monitoring AYA patients diagnosed with osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma with myocardial strain imaging by echocardiography to assess early signs of cardiac toxicity.
  • To characterize organizational models of AYA cancer programs participating in this project.