Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Barretos Cancer Hospital — one of the most advanced public hospital cancer centers in Brazil — signed a memorandum of understanding on February 2 for wide-ranging collaborative research that may begin by the end of this year.
Representatives from Barretos, who have been speaking with representatives from Sylvester about a possible collaborative relationship for the past 18 months at conferences throughout Latin America, traveled to Miami to sign the agreement, meet with Sylvester researchers and clinicians, and tour Sylvester’s facilities.
“Barretos, located 240 miles northwest of São Paulo, has all the right characteristics to be an excellent collaborative partner for Sylvester,” said Gilberto de Lima Lopes, Jr., M.D., M.B.A., a native of Brazil, who is associate professor of clinical medicine, medical director for international programs, associate director for global oncology, and co-leader of the Lung Cancer Site Disease Group at Sylvester. “It is a large, regional, academic cancer center with an excellent reputation in Brazil. It sees 12,000 new cancer cases each year, it offers the full spectrum of care, and it has outstanding research strengths, including the largest tumor bank in Latin America.”
Representatives from Barretos at the signing included Edmundo Carvalho Mauad, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the hospital’s Board of Directors, and Sergio Vicente Serrano, M.D., Ph.D., the institution’s director of clinical oncology. Joining Lopes from Sylvester were hematologists Alvaro J. Alencar, M.D., also a Brazilian native, and Joseph D. Rosenblatt, M.D., professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology and holder of the William J. Harrington Chair in Hematology.
The next step, said Lopes, will be for a Sylvester delegation to visit Barretos this spring. Joint research projects could begin later this year or early in 2019. With the memorandum signed, the two groups turned to discussing exactly what those projects might be.
“This new relationship fits nicely into President Frenk’s mission to make the University of Miami a hemispheric university,” said Lopes. “We’re looking at three research areas — tumor biology, cancer disparities and clinical implementation. We also hope, for some projects, that the work done in Miami will be funded by NIH, and the work done in Brazil funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation. That will bring greater financial strength to our collaborations, enabling us together to increase the pace of our research and hopefully improve patient outcomes.”