Italy: Transplant, Radiotherapy, and Biotechnology Centers
For more than a decade, UPMC has partnered with the Region of Sicily to offer transplantation services at Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT) in Palermo, Italy.
ISMETT has brought transplantation services to an area in the Mediterranean basin that did not have wide access to such procedures and therapies. Previously, many Sicilian patients had to travel to other regions for treatment.
Today, ISMETT is one of the most advanced and most successful international ventures ever undertaken by a U.S. academic medical center.
A leading transplant center
ISMETT has become one of the leading transplant centers in Europe and is a major referral center for other Mediterranean countries.
Since its inception, ISMETT's transplant team has performed more than 1,000 transplants with outstanding clinical results. The one-year survival rate for liver transplant recipients is among the highest in Italy.
In addition, the 120,000 square-foot facility:
- Includes a 14-bed comprehensive intensive care unit.
- Has a state-of-the-art imaging center.
- Provides each patient with the highest quality of care, supported by personalized services designed to accommodate the international patient’s cultural and linguistic needs.
Finding solutions for end-stage organ failure
One of the most innovative biomedical projects today is the Cell Factory in Palermo, Italy, hosted by ISMETT. This is a UPMC partnership that includes three laboratories dedicated to the production of cells to treat end-stage organ failure.
The Cell Factory performs advanced research in regenerative medicine and offers remote cell preparation for other transplantation centers in Europe.
Advanced Radiotherapy Center of Excellence at San Pietro Hospital
UPMC’s management of the Advanced Radiotherapy Center of Excellence at San Pietro Hospital in Rome, Italy, fulfills an unmet need for advanced radiotherapy treatment close to home.
The center offers one of the most advanced linear accelerators in the world, and the only one in Rome. It's the same state-of-the-art platform operating in UPMC’s radiation oncology center in Pittsburgh.
Bringing this level of radiosurgery to the region will:
- Improve patient access to cancer treatment.
- Increase the quality of cancer care.
- Reduce complications.
Real-time telemedicine connects patients and doctors in Rome to health care providers in the United States.
Using videoconferencing equipment, patients receive:
- Fast and secure image transmission for interpretation.
- Off-site monitoring of vital signs.
- High-quality care without having to travel far distances.
Cancer research and clinical trials
The Advanced Radiotherapy Center carries out research activities aimed at promoting radiosurgery quantitative and qualitative analyses, and developing a wider disease category database, clinical guidelines, and practices in cooperation with the UPMC CancerCenter network and other Italian and European cancer centers.
The Advanced Radiotherapy Center works with these commercial partners:
- Varian Medical System
- General Electric
The center will enroll in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), a United States-based national clinical trials cooperative group that conducts trials studying ways to increase survival and improve quality of life for patients diagnosed with cancer. RTOG participants include 250 of the major research institutions in the United States and Canada.
Plans are under discussion with the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology to develop a work group among UPMC, San Pietro Hospital, and several European radiation oncology centers.
Ri.MED Foundation — Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center
UPMC partnered with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Italian government through the Ri.MED Foundation to build and manage a Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC) in Palermo, Italy.
Expected to open in 2016, this center will comprise programs that represent the most contemporary themes in biomedical research:
- Drug discovery
- Vaccine development
- Tissue engineering
- Regenerative medicine
The development of biomedical devices, structural and computational biology, neurosciences, and molecular imaging will put BRBC in the forefront of developing the next generation of medications, vaccines, regenerative therapies, and medical devices.
The BRBC will:
- Recruit creative and productive scientists.
- Train researchers.
- Help attract research funding and private investors.
UPMC also is the foundation’s technical adviser for design, construction, and start-up of the facility.