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Programs in Seed Grants

Low-cost transcriptional diagnosis of lymphomas in sub-Saharan Africa

Image via Philip Bulterys and Oscar Silva

Lymphoma presents a growing threat in sub-Saharan Africa. Its incidence is projected to double in the next two decades, due to overlapping HIV, malaria, and tumor-causing viruses. While therapies to treat many types of lymphoma are established and available in low-resource countries, a dearth of low-cost, easy, and accessible diagnostic tools for lymphoma prevents access to treatment for many. 

To help address this problem, co-Principal Investigators Dr. Oscar Silva, MD, PhD, and Dr. Philip Bulterys, MD, PhD, plan to adapt a low-cost diagnostic tool they created for use in Guatemala and optimize it for use in sub-Saharan Africa. Working with pathologists in the region, the team will evaluate the tool’s performance at two large hospitals in Kenya and South Africa and optimize it to recognize and classify the common lymphoma tumor types in the region. 

“We believe that access to an accurate and timely pathologic diagnosis is a basic human right,” said Dr. Bulterys. “In addition to working toward closing critical gaps in lymphoma diagnosis in sub-Saharan Africa, we hope that this work will serve as a blueprint for international collaboration in pathology, expanding training and career development opportunities for pathologists at our study sites and at Stanford.”

Principal Investigators:

Oscar Silva, MD, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology

Philip Bulterys, MD, PhD, Clinical Fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology

Research Team:

Yaso Natkunam, MD, PhD, Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology; Edward Briercheck, MD, PhD, Instructor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Shahin Sayed, MBChB, MMED, Associate Professor of Pathology, Aga Khan University; Katherine Antel, MBChB, PhD, Senior Specialist, Hematologist, University of Cape Town, Department of Medicine


Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford Medicine Department of Pathology