UPMC in Italy Comes to the Rescue for 21 Cancer Patients from Malta 

By: Francesca Valagussa

Responsiveness, passion and teamwork were crucial to ensuring the continuity of care for 21 cancer patients from Malta who were recently treated by UPMC clinicians and staff in Italy. In late July, these patients faced a serious interruption of their life-saving cancer therapies because of damage to three linear accelerators in Malta that shut them down for three weeks.    

Within only a few days of the call for help from the Maltese government, UPMC’s facilities in Italy were able to seamlessly coordinate efforts to provide the needed care. In addition to receiving radiotherapy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at San Pietro FBF in Rome, some of the patients had other needs. One was taken to UPMC Salvator Mundi International Hospital (SMIH) in Rome to undergo chemotherapy and consult with Dr. Roberta Mannucci, associate medical director at UPMC’s Institute for Health in Tuscany, who developed a personalized nutrition plan. Two patients also underwent extensive cardiology examinations, and one had an eye consult, all at SMIH.  

Two technical staff members of the clinic at which the patients are being treated in Malta accompanied them to facilitate their stay in Rome.  

“Our highly qualified and experienced staff were able to meet the challenges of this unexpected workload,” said Dr. Piercarlo Gentile, medical director of UPMC Hillman at San Pietro FBF. That included administering some treatments overnight because of their urgency and simulating and starting radiotherapy treatment plans within days. “The professionalism and passion of our team are a credit to us all,” added Gentile. “The smooth cooperation of our three centers ensured that our patients from Malta received compassionate and life-changing care.”    

Previously, patients from Malta have been treated at UPMC-managed ISMETT, one of Italy’s leading transplant and high specialty centers, under a collaboration between governments in Sicily and Malta. The agreement has allowed Maltese patients to benefit from highly specialized care not available in Malta.