DMC and regenerative medicine draw international interest
The chair and vice-chair of West China Hospital , which ranks second on China's "best hospitals list" nationally, plan to arrive in Rochester on Monday with nine of their staff and administrators to consult with Mayo Clinic and Rochester city government officials.
QuiYang Zhang, general manager of the Council for U.S.-China Medical Technology Exchanges, of Rochester, said the international health leaders are drawn to Rochester by two factors:
• The Destination Medical Center initiative — they expect to meet with Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede on Monday morning.
• The local efforts in transplant medicine — Monday afternoon they plan to meet with Dr. Scott Nyberg, leader of the Mayo Clinic Liver Regeneration Program, who is described in his Mayo bio as "focused on the development of a multidisciplinary bioartificial liver program."
Zhang said the West China Hospital leaders plan to initiate international study of an artificial liver through collaboration with Mayo, which is working toward FDA approval.
Nyberg's bio says his team has developed a "bioartificial liver" support system that uses pig hepatocytes — liver cells — and a genetically engineered pig that "serves as an in-vivo incubator for robust expansion of human hepatocytes."
His team wants to "humanize" the artificial liver.
That's where the international collaboration with Chinese health providers and researchers likely holds potential.
Zhang said Destination Medical Center has attracted Chinese health administrators, because it has triggered them to consider a wider region surrounding their own health facilities, rather than just focusing on patient health outcomes within the facilities.
They now ask, what are the business atmosphere and neighborhood surrounding a hospital like?
Thus, Mayo Clinic and Rochester have already increased their status as a true "destination" medical center — because health providers internationally are coming to Minnesota for guidance.
The West China Hospital leaders have identified a problem for Chinese patients who want referral to Mayo Clinic. Typically, in China, a patient must work with a company, which arranges patient referrals, Zhang said.
Instead, he said, West China Hospital officials think the hospital should instead refer patients with complex medical needs directly to Mayo.
Once the patient has an answer to a hard-to-diagnose problem, he or she can return to China and the local health provider can continue therapy.