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UPMC to Assist Kazakhstan in Creating National Center for Cancer Care and Research

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Based on its worldwide reputation for advanced cancer treatment and research, UPMC has been selected by Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan to conduct a feasibility study related to the development of a national oncology treatment and research center in that country.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in January outlined a bold plan to build the nation’s most advanced oncology treatment and research center for its citizens and those of Eurasia. More than 30,000 new cases of cancer are detected in Kazakhstan annually—with over half of all cancer patients being diagnosed at a late stage.

The government-funded National Research Cancer Center, to be managed by Nazarbayev University, is expected to include a 300-400 bed hospital, outpatient care, a research facility and a hotel complex.

“The building of a world-class research and treatment center for cancer in Kazakhstan is a top national priority. The partnership with UPMC will hasten and deepen our ability to help so many families in Kazakhstan and Eurasia deal with the challenges of cancer. It is Nazarbayev University’s goal to bring the world’s best treatment to our people,” said Nazarbayev University President Shigeo Katsu.

Under a consultative agreement between UPMC and Nazarbayev University, UPMC will assess the types of oncology services needed in Kazakhstan and the feasibility of developing a national cancer center in the capital of Astana. The center will incorporate the tactics used by UPMC to successfully integrate care, research and medical education at UPMC CancerCenter and its more than 35 locations in western Pennsylvania, Ireland and Italy. In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania, UPMC CancerCenter accelerates research breakthroughs into clinical practice around the world.

“This agreement underscores the excellent reputation that our clinicians and staff have developed worldwide for offering high-quality cancer care through an extensive network of sites, providing easy access to patients,” said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC CancerCenter and UPMC’s International and Commercial Services Division. “This is a first step in what we hope will be a long and positive relationship with the people and government of Kazakhstan. We look forward to executing a plan that will ensure the highest standards of cancer care, provide access to the most advanced technologies, and serve as a catalyst for ground-breaking research and economic development.”

At the same time, he noted, the agreement is part of UPMC’s broader strategy of exchanging scientific expertise and innovation globally to produce better patient outcomes and a stronger health system for all of its patients.

Kenneth Alibek, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Republican Research Center for Medical Emergency Care, was chosen by the government of Kazakhstan to lead the working group to establish the National Research Cancer Center.

The financial terms of UPMC’s agreement with Nazarbayev University were not disclosed.