UPMC Adds Second Advanced Cancer Center in Italy

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PITTSBURGH UPMC today held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new radiotherapy center in southern Italy that will become part of the world-renowned UPMC Hillman Cancer Center network when it opens to patients later this year. 

Located in Mirabella Eclano in the Campania region of Italy, the new center, named the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at Villa Maria, follows the model of the UPMC San Pietro FBF Advanced Radiotherapy Center in Rome, the first UPMC cancer center to open in Italy five years ago. The two Italian cancer centers join more than 60 others that are part of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center network, one of the largest integrated cancer networks in the United States and one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. 

“This new addition to our top-notch health care facilities in Italy builds on our mission of providing world-class care for patients close to home,” said Chuck Bogosta, president of UPMC International and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “This advanced radiotherapy center at Villa Maria will make high-quality cancer care far more accessible to patients, with both public and private insurance, throughout central and southern Italy.”  

The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at Villa Maria will include the Varian TrueBeam™ STx, a high-precision, high-speed linear accelerator that more precisely targets tumors while sparing healthy tissue and minimizing side effects for patients. “This method ensures shorter treatment times and a more comfortable experience for patients,” said Piercarlo Gentile, M.D., medical director for the center.  The first TrueBeam south of Milan was installed at UPMC San Pietro, where thousands of patients have been treated since 2013. 

Map of Italy showing location of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at Villa Maria east of Naples.

When fully operational later this year, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at Villa Maria will offer Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), as well as stereotactic radiation treatments for hard-to-reach tumors. The new center is adjacent and connected to private hospital Villa Maria and leases space from the hospital, which is accredited by the national health care system and provides a wide range of clinical services. 

In addition to recruiting 15 full-time professionals--including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and nursing and administrative staff--the radiotherapy center will be part of a UPMC telemedicine program that enables daily exchanges with UPMC cancer experts in Pittsburgh and at UPMC facilities in Italy and Ireland.   

“This new cancer center will have a positive economic and social impact on this region and provide the kind of advanced care that patients must now travel long distances to receive,” said Bruno Gridelli, M.D., executive vice president of UPMC International. “We’re excited to once again show how UPMC can work with public and private partners to improve health care around the world.” 

UPMC has been operating in Italy for more than 20 years, starting with the creation and management of ISMETT, a transplant and high-specialty hospital in Palermo, Sicily, that was formed in partnership with the regional government. Based on the success of ISMETT, the Italian government created the Ri.MED Foundation, which next year will start construction on the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center, a facility that will be managed by UPMC and staffed by over 600 researchers.

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