UCLA Health specialists meet with physicians from China's Guangzhou R&F Hospital as part of long-term collaboration

150-plus UCLA experts have consulted in the development of the hospital, scheduled to open in early 2022.

On Sept. 28, 2021, leading specialists from UCLA Health participated in a virtual roundtable discussion with physician leaders from the Guangzhou R&F Hospital in China, which is slated to become the first overseas affiliated hospital of UCLA Health.

The focus of the roundtable was on leading-edge research in Cardio-Oncology, a globally emerging and important field. This event followed the UCLA Heart Failure Symposium held earlier in September, and marked the first official clinical knowledge exchange seminar between UCLA Health and the Guangzhou R&F Hospital.

More than 150 experts from UCLA Health have been providing consulting services on the development of the Guangzhou R&F Hospital, including design, staffing, policies and procedures, clinical quality, and education. The hospital, set to open in early 2022, is designed to be a state-of-the-art, approximately 250-bed international-style hospital in the metropolitan city of Guangzhou in Southern China.

Eric Yang, MD, director of the UCLA Cardio-Oncology Program, was the keynote speaker of the roundtable, introducing the innovative clinical and research developments of the program. Other UCLA Health participants included Beth Karlan, MD, vice chair of Women’s Health Research and director of Cancer Population Genetics; and Nicholas McAndrew, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. Participants from the Guangzhou R&F Hospital included Roland Fasol, MD, chief medical officer; Eric Jiang, MD, chief of oncology; and Todd Chen, MD, immuno- and cellular therapy consultant physician.

Oncologists from UCLA Health joined their counterparts from Guangzhou R&F Hospital in China, Sept. 28, for a virtual roundtable discussion about leading-edge cardio-oncology research.

A key component of the cardio-oncology roundtable was to discuss how a multiyear partnership between the two institutions will benefit patients in China.

"It takes a village to have this effort," Dr. Yang said during the roundtable. He noted that a major issue in worldwide medicine is heart complications caused by cancer treatments and that sharing UCLA's expertise on this issue will be a major part of the partnership.

"There are some examples of patients who have both complex cancer and cardiac disease, where we can offer interventional cardiac therapies," Dr. Yang said, adding that remote second opinion consults are one way doctors can collaborate to improve patient care.

"Collaboration is in our DNA at UCLA," said Dr. Karlan, a pioneer in the use of genetics to identify cancer risks and to treat patients.

Dr. Karlan said UCLA doctors collaborate regularly among themselves on research, patient treatment and other challenges. She is eager to work with her Chinese colleagues in a similar manner.

"We really look to one another and lean on one another,” said Dr. Karlan. “Hopefully we can do this now across continents.”

“With these transcontinental collaborations, we will be providing expertise and seeing interesting cases, and going back and forth," she said, citing the benefit to both medical teams.

Since China has a much higher rate of cigarette smoking than the United States, cancers and heart disease also are higher. Dr. Karlan said she would like preventive medicine to be a major component of the collaboration.

"Prevention is even better than a cure," she said.

Dr. Karlan said it will be helpful to have the physicians from Guangzhou R&F Hospital come to UCLA Health in person. The physicians will be able to observe UCLA Health’s oncology experts, multidisciplinary teamwork and clinical best practices.

UCLA Health experts also will be available to provide remote second opinion telehealth consults to their counterparts at the Guangzhou R&F Hospital.

This cardio-oncology roundtable marked the first clinical knowledge exchange in a multiyear collaboration between the two institutions that will enhance clinical capacity and elevate health care for cancer patients in China and the U.S.

Tina Daunt is the author of this article.