One of the most advanced cancer centers opened a few days ago in Colombia thanks to a partnership between Fundación Cardiovascular de Colombia (FCV) and UPMC.
The 200-bed Oncology Institute at the new Hospital Internacional de Colombia (HIC), located in the town of Piedecuesta, will provide state-of-the-art medical and oncological treatments to patients who previously traveled hundreds of miles to receive such care in other regions. Colombia alone will see nearly 80,000 new cases of cancer this year, a number expected to grow to 113,000 cases annually over the next 10 years. These figures alone clearly show how crucial is the opening of this oncology center.
“This collaboration will ensure that the Oncology Institute becomes the leading provider of cancer services for this region,” said Victor Castillo, M.D., chairman of FCV. “The opening of the Oncology Institute brings UPMC’s globally renowned cancer expertise to South America for the first time,” said Charles Bogosta, president of UPMC International and UPMC CancerCenter. “Most importantly, this is a milestone for the people of this region, who will have access close to home to high-quality, leading-edge cancer care—access that will save lives.”
The Oncology Institute includes chemotherapy and highly specialized radiotherapy services, with future plans for a bone marrow transplant unit. Additionally, the Institute offers a palliative care program, counseling and nutrition services, and a pain management program. The center houses one of South America’s first Varian TrueBeam STx, an advanced linear accelerator (a device also available both in Pittsburgh and at UPMC San Pietro FBF Advanced Radiotherapy Center in Rome) that delivers high-dose radiation to treat the most challenging tumors, including breast, lung, prostate and head and neck cancers. The goal is to minimize disabling side effects for patients while maximizing survival. UPMC, which operates more than 40 cancer treatment centers around the world, is acting as co-manager of the Oncology Institute and will continue to provide on-the-ground support to FCV through dedicated staff members in Colombia, supplemented by visiting staff from Pittsburgh.
“The opening of the Hospital Internacional de Colombia for which UPMC has the responsibility to develop and manage the oncology programs together with partner FCV, is another milestone in UPMC’s international activities, which started in 1996 with the creation in Italy of ISMETT, in partnership with Sicily’s Regional Government,” said Bruno Gridelli, executive vice president of UPMC International. “Since then, UPMC, in addition to collaborating with the Italian Government and the Region of Sicily to launch the Ri.MED Foundation, has started and currently manages oncology centers in Rome and Ireland. In Kazakhstan, we are collaborating with the national government to build and manage a cancer care network. UPMC has also ongoing projects in China, Singapore, Myanmar and India.”
Through UPMC International, UPMC shares its clinical, technological and managerial knowledge and expertise with partners around the world, customizing solutions to benefit patients and regions. The goal is to transform the delivery of health care while supporting UPMC’s patient care and research mission.