Meet Ghanaian helping the US Government fight Cancer


Professor Francis Ali Osman has all the characteristics of a genius. He is smart, focused, and more importantly humble.

His greatest achievement is perhaps in the area of the fight against cancer and brain tumor. The Ghanaian professor of Surgery and Pathology was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the US National Cancer Advisory Board in 2016 and has since then been maintained by subsequent US presidents.

He was appointed among other members to advise President Obama, the US Secretary of Health and Human Service and the Director of the National Cancer Institute on a wide range of issues relating to the US national cancer programme.

The world-renowned cancer researcher and oncology leader is currently the distinguished Professor of Neuro-Oncology Research at the Duke University School of Medicine in the USA.

Prof Ali-Osman, whose speciality is in brain tumours and translational cancer research, has held many positions in the field of cancer and served on many boards, including the Iowa Cancer Center and the Board of Scientific Advisors of the US National Cancer Institute.

With more than 25 years’ experience in cancer and brain tumour research, Dr Ali-Osman said he was bringing his expertise to Ghana to help fight cancer, which is claiming more lives than malaria and HIV.

In an interview with MzGee in faraway USA, he expressed his willingness to do more for his motherland given the opportunity. “If President Obama was able to appoint me as a member of the US National Cancer Advisory Board, then I believe I have a lot to offer,”

Already, he said he had been working with the Neurosurgery Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) on some surgeries and programmes, respectively.

Although Ghana faced the threat of cancer, he said it lacked the infrastructure to deal with the disease.

To bring his expertise on board, Dr Ali-Osman said he was working with the NMIMR to set up a Cancer Research Programme where scientific-based research on cancer would be studied, while a cancer registry would also be established to collect data on cancer cases.

From the Navrongo Senior High School in the Upper East Region through to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where he had his undergraduate training in Pharmacy, Dr Ali-Osman moved to obtain advanced doctorate degrees in Germany.

He pursued doctorate degrees in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Pharmacology and Laboratory Medicine from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and completed a fellowship programme in Neuro-oncology at the Brain Tumour Research Center at the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco.

In the US, Dr Ali-Osman has served in a variety of positions, including Assistant Professor and Director of Brain Tumour Research at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Senior Investigator and Chief Scientific Officer at the Hipple Cancer Research Centre at the Wright State University School of Medicine.

Also, he has been the Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Experimental Pediatrics and Professor and  Director of Neurosurgery Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Watch the full interview below:






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