Sheba Medical Center 224.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After three years of negotiations, one of the world’s leading oncology research and treatment centers – the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston – and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer will on Monday sign a pioneering “Sister Institution Relationship” agreement for broad-scale cooperation in training, treatment and research.
“MD Anderson’s mission is a global one – and it cannot be fulfilled without deep collaboration at all levels with world-class institutions such as Chaim Sheba,” says Prof. John Mendelsohn, president of the cancer center, who will sign on its behalf at Tel Hashomer.
“Together, by combining our resources and extending the benefits of our research to more patients, we increase our opportunity to reduce the burden of cancer for many more individuals,” he says.
MD Anderson’s association with Sheba “will bring enormous benefit to our patients,” says Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Sheba’s director-general, who will also preside at the ceremony. “Our collaborative efforts will I hope significantly advance the global effort to combat cancer. This is the first agreement of its type for an Israeli hospital; it is a pioneering breakthrough that will significantly add to the international-class-level medicine we conduct at Sheba.”
The agreement includes cooperation in physician education and training, clinical services, research collaborations, quality assurance programs, faculty exchange visits, scientific endeavors, nursing and other technical support and staff training. Key to the agreement is collaboration in translational research through the exchange of technologies and knowledge between the institutions and establishment of joint translational research efforts to improve care for cancer patients.
Researchers and clinicians will have access to the large clinical cohorts and tissue banks available at the Texas center and at Sheba. In addition, patients at both institutions can participate in clinical trials conducted on novel therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostic tools developed at either.
Mendelsohn was accompanied to Israel by MD Anderson provost and executive vice president Dr. Raymond DuBois and Prof. Raphael Pollock, who is head of its surgical division. Sheba oncologist Dr. Amir Onn will lead the program from Israel and Pollack from Texas.
DuBois says that Sheba – with its cancer center, hematology center and cancer research institute – is one of the world’s finest research and clinical care facilities, with experience in multidisciplinary cancer care, clinical research, drug development, translational research, basic science and medical education.
“This is a unique opportunity for the faculty and staff of MD. Anderson to establish a relationship that will advance our mutual goals of creating outstanding scientific programs focused on the discovery and development of cancer therapies, as well as the education of cancer researchers and clinicians,” says DuBois.
Dr. Aviad Hoffman, a Sheba surgical oncologist who will spend three years at MD Anderson, will be the first to benefit from a fellowship under the new agreement. He will conduct two years of research and serve one year of clinical-surgical training and practice in the Texas center.
MD Anderson’s first collaboration with Israel involves a cooperative learning relationship with Sheba’s MSR, the Israel Center for Medical Simulation. MSR is the world’s first all-embracing “virtual hospital,” where health professionals learn from their mistakes in a safe environment while training against role-playing actors and real-life computerized mannequins.