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Barretos Cancer Hospital and MD Anderson sign sister institution agreement

Houston - Today, Barretos Cancer Hospital (BCH) in Brazil joined The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Sister Institution network. In a signing ceremony at BCH's newly opened Research Institute Against Digestive Cancer (IRCAD-Brazil), MD Anderson provost and executive vice president, Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., marked the beginning of an alliance that will allow the two institutions to build a number of collaborative research projects and academic interactions.

Located in Barretos, which is nearly 300 miles from the state capital of So Paulo, Brazil, BCH focuses on providing preeminent cancer care to the area's rural population. BCH started with four pioneering physicians, Paulo Prata, M.D., Scylla Duerte Prata, M.D., Miguel Gonalves M.D. and Domingos Boldrini, M.D., who dedicated themselves not only to treating their patients but to providing them free care at a standard equivalent to what they could receive in the state capital. Initially called Fundao Pio XII, the fundamental tenants that launched the hospital in 1968 have continued and grown into the BCH of today, which sees 3,000 patients a day and treats more than 10,000 new cases of cancer per year.

The agreement also was signed by Henrique Duarte Prata and Scylla Duarte Prata, M.D., general director and president respectively of the foundation that provides support for BCH - Fundao Pio XII. Also attending the ceremony was Edmundo Carvalho Mauad, M.D., Ph.D. and Andre Lopes Carvalho, M.D., Ph.D., BCH's prevention and scientific directors, as well as MD Anderson's Oliver Bgler, Ph.D., vice president for global academic programs and Ernest Hawk, M.D., vice president and division head for the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, among others.

"MD Anderson is the best cancer hospital in the United States," Carvalho-Mauad said. "They have a good relationship with international institutions, they are very friendly and it is good to work with friends. The Sister Institution relationship will allow both our institutions to learn from each other in order to impact patients."

Carvalho-Mauad has focused much of his personal efforts on prevention and has developed an extensive network of outreach programs in rural areas, many modeled on programs implemented at MD Anderson, such as mobile mammography units. BCH and its scientific director Lopes-Carvalho also see the importance of creating a productive research program and have recruited talented physician-researchers and employed relationships like the one with MD Anderson to improve outcome-driven projects.

"Barretos Cancer Hospital is relatively young but they have made amazing progress in their efforts to better care for patients, including cancer prevention efforts," DuBois said. "Partnering with them will help us understand the unique challenges of their population and allow us to not only learn from their experiences and incorporate that knowledge here at MD Anderson, but to provide support as they work to further improve results for their patient population."

MD Anderson and BCH already are engaged in two newly funded projects. Hicks will be working on a pilot program for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma in underserved communities, while Schmeler will be studying a low-cost imaging tool for cervical cancer screening in Brazil. Both institutions see the Sister Institution relationship as a platform to increase the number of collaborative research projects in order to improve care for cancer patients and will continue to increase those engagements.


Contact: DeDe DeStefano
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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