INTERVIEW TO IEO-MONZINO GROUP: CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IN ITALY AND ABROAD

What is IEO role in advancing the research in cancer treatment?

“From the beginning, the main characteristic of the European Institute of Oncology (IEO) has been joining clinical and research activities in a unique setting. IEO deals with the main kind of cancers, including breast, lung, prostate, head and neck, digestive, hematological, gynecological and rare tumors. In all these tumors, all the aspects of clinics and research are developed in a strong integrated and multidisciplinary approach, focusing both on quality of the care and the quality of patients’ life.

All the patients treated in IEO are evaluated and discussed in a weekly specific tumor board. This approach allows IEO specialists to offer patients the best standard of care.

Minimal invasive techniques are applied, including robotic surgery, laparoscopy, high precision radiation therapy and interventional radiological procedures. New and innovative schedules of systemic therapies are also implemented, with great attention to reduce side effects. Most of the patients are involved in clinical trials, in order to ensure the best possibility to be cured. Personalized treatment are based on the characterization of the molecular and genetic profile of the patients. In our laboratory a multigene platform has been developed to identify the individual risk and to guarantee the best treatment. Immunotherapy is also extensively employed.

Sophisticated techniques of cancer detection, such as lymph-node sentinel biopsy, radiolabeled compounds, multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging, are currently applied. Prevention is another field in which research allows to identify risk categories and use compounds to prevent recurrences or new tumors.

The basic mechanisms of cancer development are extensively studied, and the influence of environment and diet on the genomic profile are under investigation to develop a proper research line on epigenetics.

IEO is very active in promoting new studies, and is involved in wide cooperative national and international groups and networks. IEO reputation in care and research is widely recognized and its contribution in developing and implementing innovative approaches is remarkable, influencing national and international guidelines.”

Prof. Roberto Orecchia, Scientific Director of IEO

Why Monzino is a point of reference for heart care in Italy and abroad?

“The Monzino Centre is a highly specialised research and care institute focusing on the heart and vessels.

Founded in 1981, the Centre is the first hospital in Europe dedicated exclusively to heart care and accredited with the Italian National Health Service. In 1992, the Centre became the first Scientific Research Institute for Hospitalisation and Treatment in Italy with this focus.

Today, the Centre is part of the IEO-Monzino group: two centers of excellence focusing on the major pathologies of the western world and reinvesting their profits in Research and Innovation.

Thanks to its high level of specialisation in five specific clinical areas, a considerable volume of consultations and examinations – 500 a day -; in addition to systematic sharing of clinical strategies, the Centre is able to perform 1,500 surgeries and 7,000 invasive procedures each year with an excellent level of success.

The Monzino Centre houses the only cardiology emergency department in Milan open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and offers continuous Cardiovascular Telemedicine consultation and monitoring services for the best home-based management of specific cases.

For all these reasons the Monzino Centre is a fundamental point of reference for heart care throughout Italy and abroad.”

 

IEO is a comprehensive cancer center for adult oncological diseases: which are its areas of excellence?

“IEO (European Institute of Oncology) is one of the world’s most prestigious hospitals and the fastest growing comprehensive cancer center in Europe. IEO is a Research and Teaching Hospital dedicated to adult oncology and integrates the various areas related to the fight against cancer: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, training and education, basic and translational research.

IEO is one of the leading center for breast tumor treatments and care, with more than 3.500 breast surgeries each year. IEO is continuously researching new surgical techniques to improve the efficiency of breast cancer treatments and to increase the success rate of breast cancer surgery while preserving the integrity of the woman’s body. Recently we opened our brand new Women Cancer Center Unique in its model, the Women’s Cancer Center gathers in one functional and welcoming space all the IEO oncological and medical competences linked to the gynecological and senological cancers; this new and highly specialized service will provide our female patients with the best treatment possible from the prevention, to the possible diagnosis, the treatment and the follow ups.

The IEO Gynecology and Senology Multidisciplinar Programs (surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, imaging specialists, radiotherapists, genetisists, nutritionists, psicologists, sexologists and fertililty specialists) will work together to try to answer all the problems that a woman facing an oncological disease has to deal with and to support her all the way through her clinical path here at IEO.

Our Institute is also one of the most advanced in radiotherapy treatments: The IEO Advanced Radiotherapy Centre (ARC) is among the top 10 centers in the world for cancer treatment, research and technology. ARC is equipped with the new generation radiotherapy machines able to perform high precision treatment employing intensity modulation, image guidance, stereotactic approach, intraoperative irradiation and brachytherapy.

The Institute also collaborates with the National Centre for Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO) on selected patients.

The Institute approach to cancer treatment has always been guided by technology and research progresses. That is why we were the first ever hospital to have an Interventional Radiology Division: founded in 2013 the Division has always provided state of the art treatments to our patients (such as: HIFU and Thermoablation, among others) and is now one Europe most prestigious center for Interventional Radiology.

Technology here at IEO is considered of great support for our specialist, a “highly precise and advanced assistant on the field”: performing robot-assisted surgery allows doctors to reduce the risks associated with conventional surgery while reducing as much as possible the patient’s discomfort . We can take advantage of 3 Da Vinci operating robots that help our specialists (from the Urologic, Abdomino-pelvic, Gynecologig, Senology and Thoracic Divisions) to perform more than 1000 Robot Assisted surgical interventions every year.”

 

Which are the main areas of excellence of Monzino Center?

“First of all, the excellence of medical team. At the Monzino Centre, researchers, clinical cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, arythmologists, cardio-radiologists, cardio-anesthetists, work to share highly specialised individual knowledge, to provide the best patient care and to engage in innovative cross-cutting research, prevention and treatment projects.

The quality of the both the medical and other healthcare professionals at the Monzino Centre is extremely high and a particular regard is given to the ability of personnel to establish a trusted relationship with patients, in a collaborative and personal environment.

Furthermore, Monzino Cardiology Centre is the main centre for the study of cardiovascular disease at the University of Milan. The institute is also a centre for postgraduate training and continual professional development: the Monzino Alumni community, comprising all professionals who received specific and exceptional training at the Centre, is a network of qualified centres in Italy and abroad, directed at mutual collaboration and comparison.

Nevertheless, excellence of Monzino Center is also in its research and technology. Twelve units specialised in cardiovascular translational research are active at the Centre, and the excellent scientific production of each single researcher is directly transferred to the clinical areas, to transform the results obtained as rapidly as possible into new approaches in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment for patients.

The laboratories at the Monzino Centre strive to find, for instance, new markers that allow for improved prevention of cardiovascular risks, as well as increasingly timely, personalised and effective treatments for heart and vascular diseases.

A further field of research that the Monzino Centre places great importance on concerns highly technological aspects, such as, the of use innovative equipment for diagnostic imaging and interventional procedures, ensuring that detection and treatment of, for example, coronary heart disease, is continually more effective and less invasive.”

 

What’s IEO-Monzino relationship with international patients?

“IEO-Monzino international patients come from different areas of the world and in particular from Western Europe, Russia and Russian Federation, Balkan Peninsula, the Gulf and Eastern Europe.

Thanks to their experience both IEO and Monzino Center are well known in their clinical environments and has established several best practices for the diagnosis, treatment and follow up of many pathologies.

Our approach is a multidisciplinary one: a patient is first a person and its clinical and personal history and the complexity of his/her disease has to be taken into account with a 360 perspective.

To meet halfway our patients’ demands we have set up a multilingual website. IEO have also a dedicate Facebook page to facilitate communication with its patients, and a monthly newsletter to keep them updated on clinical activity and events.

But the most essential tool in taking the best care of our international patient is our dedicate International Office.

Part of the Customer Service dept. the International office is the first and main point of contact and access for all the non-Italian speaking patients and their families.

The office, opened just 4 years ago, helps every year more than a thousand patients from their first requests to their follow up after the treatments.

The dedicated staff is able to support each patient through all the time he/she has to stay at IEO or Monzino Center, and even before and after. We help the patients and their families with travel and accommodation arrangements thanks to an internal travel agency, Visas requests, consultations and exams and with a linguistic mediator if needed.

The International Office aims to be the point of reference in any case of need that is not strictly clinical thanks to a daily phone availability and a dedicated office.

To better ensure that each patient will be best taken care of, the International Office has a dedicated doctor that reviews each international case.
This allow us to help the patient book the right consult and specialist for him/her and to be supported 100% from the start. 

To be sure that no one travels unnecessary we have also created an online consult service that allows the patient to have a full specialist medical report from one of our Medical Directors without coming first to the Institute. This allows the patient to have a complete evaluation before coming to IEO or Monzino and investing time and resources into starting a treatment and getting better.”

 

What brings international patients to IEO and Monzino?

“Both IEO and Monzino have adopted an innovative approach to translational research based on Multidisciplinary Programs with the following characteristics:

  • involvement and integration of all the professionals needed for the program: physicians, clinical scientists, translational and basic researchers, scientists
  • focus on clinical and scientific homogeneous areas, such as the type of cancer or the treatment modalities
  • availability of platforms supporting the research.

To each Multidisciplinary Program are assigned Divisions, Units or individual professionals dedicated to the subject of the program and originating from different disciplines.

IEO and Monzino are internationally well known for their excellence and commitment to their patients.
Since 2002 IEO has been declared a “Joint Commission International-accredited healthcare facility” and at the last survey, the final report reported that “Italian citizens should be proud that the European Institute of Oncology is focusing on this most challenging goal – to continuously raise quality to higher levels.”

This authoritative accreditation of excellence expresses a precise and independent evaluation on how a health care facility can make competence, quality and safety in care available to patients.

The IEO was the first Cancer Center outside of the United States to be awarded JCI accreditation.

So if you ask me what brings international patients to travel this far to come at IEO or Monzino Center to continue or start their treatment, I’d say that is because of our loyalty and dedication to each and one of them: every patients that walks through our doors is unique in his/her clinical and personal history and so deserves a highly personalized and state of the art treatment.”

Dr. Barbara Cossetto, Marketing and Communication Director and Customer Care of European Institute of Oncology and of Monzino Center

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.