First UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Location Opens in Sicily

By: Wendy Zellner

The first UPMC Hillman Cancer Center location in Sicily and the first to offer medical oncology services in Italy is ready to treat patients at UPMC-managed ISMETT, a leading transplant and high-specialty hospital in Palermo.  

The recently completed facility will allow ISMETT’s clinicians to provide medical oncology services that complement the hospital’s surgical capabilities, with a focus on gastrointestinal and cardiothoracic cancers.  

“This new service and our connection to the internationally renowned UPMC Hillman Cancer Center network mean that our patients will have expanded and more convenient access to world-class cancer care,” said Dr. Angelo Luca, vice president of health services for UPMC in Italy and chief executive officer of ISMETT, a public-private partnership between UPMC and the Region of Sicily.  

Physicians treating cancer patients at ISMETT will be supported by specialists and researchers at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, one of only 52 NCI-designed Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S. The location at ISMETT will join UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s established network in Italy, which includes radiotherapy centers in Rome and Campania.  

“With this new location joining more than 70 others worldwide, UPMC continues its commitment to expanding the advanced, patient-focused care of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Italy,” noted Chuck Bogosta, president of UPMC International, vice chairman of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and a board member of ISMETT.  

The addition of medical oncology at ISMETT also lays the groundwork for the comprehensive suite of oncology services planned for a new UPMC-managed hospital, dubbed “ISMETT 2,” in nearby Carini. Financed by the regional government and expected to open in 2025, that 256-bed hospital will offer a broad range of services, including transplant and cancer care, orthopaedics, cardiology and other specialties.  

Medical oncologist Dr. Sergio Rizzo, hired in December to oversee the new Hillman facility, recently spent time training at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh, along with a pharmacist, nurse manager and two staff nurses who will work with him in Sicily.  

“We are excited to have this extraordinary team representing the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Sicily and ready to bring our compassionate, multidisciplinary cancer care to more patients in Italy than ever before,” added Bogosta.