China is the second largest economy in the world and the way it handled the outbreak of Corona Covid-19 virus in-spite of limited knowledge, is commendable and worth mentioning.
Now, the world’s second largest economy is striving to become a place where patients can get the best, newest drugs and services faster and cheaper than anywhere else.
Pressured by its growing middle class, the Chinese government has set itself an ambitious target: first-world health outcomes at a fraction of the cost that other countries, especially the U.S., pays.
To get there, China has doubled the amount it’s pouring into public hospitals in the last five years to $38 billion. It wants to see a healthcare industry valued at $2.3 trillion by 2030, more than twice its size now.
The cost control part will be much harder. Beijing wants the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world to bend the knee, lowering their prices drastically in order to get access to its vast patient pool. In new drugs, pharmaceuticals from Pfizer to Roche have agreed to cuts of as much as 70%.
It’s an unprecedented balancing act, and the outcome will affect not just billions of Chinese patients, but the future of the global healthcare industry.
Story of a cancer patient in China
Zhang Haitao was a basketball-loving teenager who dreamed of going to a specialized sports high school when he got a pain in his right arm that just wouldn’t go away. It turned out to be acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The discovery set Zhang and his family, from a village deep in the mountains of southwestern China’s Sichuan province, on a journey familiar to most cancer patients — a revolving door of hospital visits, blood tests and three rounds of chemotherapy. It was then that Zhang’s doctor suggested a last-ditch option: an experimental gene therapy being trialed by a Chinese startup called Gracell Biotechnology Ltd.
After spending three weeks in the hospital in May — during which white blood cells were removed from his body, genetically engineered, and then infused back in — an analysis of Zhang’s bone marrow in June showed his body was clear of cancer. Seven months later, monthly medical tests conducted at a hospital in the nearby Chinese metropolis of Chongqing show he remains cancer free.
CAR T-Cell therapy in China
The therapy Zhang received was Chimeric Antigen Receptor-T cells, known as CAR-T, and it’s being hailed as one of the most exciting developments in the quest to cure cancer. First developed by Israeli scientist Zelig Eshhar in the 1980s, CAR-T re-works the genes of the body’s own immune cells so that they actively seek out and destroy cancer cells. While it’s been embraced by researchers and drugmakers around the world, perhaps nowhere is CAR-T having more impact — and being pushed dangerously close to its limits — than in China, home to the world’s biggest cancer population and some of the most ambitious experiments.
Best Cancer Hospitals in China
Beijing Cancer Hospital
Beijing Cancer Hospital is one of the famous large special hospitals in the field of cancer research and treatment in China. It has 790 hospital beds, 26 clinical departments and 13 medical technological departments.
For the past many years, our hospital has been engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of various tumors, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal carcinoma, malignant lymphoma, gynecological cancer, tumor of head and neck, tumor of urological system, bone tumor and melanoma. The hospital advocates the cooperation of multiple disciplines, integrate medical sources of all departments, and has established different cooperation groups for mono-disease including breast cancer, gastric cancer, lymphoma, and liver cancer, providing normalized and individualized combined treatment for the patients.
The hospital is a member of the national base for clinical pharmacology. From 2000 to 2007, our hospital has completed 76 clinical trials, of which 52 belonged to domestic clinical trials, 10 belonged to international multi-center clinical trials, and 14 belonged to clinical trials for medical equipment. There are 35 on-going programs of domestic clinical trials, 11 international multi-center clinical trials, and 4 clinical trials for medical equipment.
The breast cancer patients treated with conservative surgery in the Breast Cancer Center of the hospital have reached 51%. The Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery has developed multimodality therapy for gastric cancer and neo-adjunctive radiochemical therapy for rectal cancer. The Department of Hepatic, Biliary & Pancreatic Surgery has performed various kinds of hepatic and pancreatic operations with high difficulty, and advocated the multimodality therapy for liver metastasis of colon carcinoma. The Department of Thoracic Surgery has developed bisaxillary lymphnode dissection for carcinoma of gastric cardia, high level cervical excision of esophageal carcinoma, complex surgery of lung cancer such as plasty of pulmonary artery, and chest minimally invasive surgery. The Department of Respiratery Oncology has established the normalized chemotherapy regimens for lung cancer of advanced stage, making that the median survival and yearly survival rate of NSCLC and SCLC reach or approach the international level, respectively. The Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology has been engaged in promoting the normalized chemotherapy for gastric cancer and colorectal cancer. The Department of lymphoma & Hematologic Oncology has been walking in the front row in China in the field of diagnosis and treatment of malignant lymphoma. The Department of Renal Cancer & Melanoma has treated patients by bio-immunotherapy, and makes a remarkable achievement. The Department of Radiotherapy has treated malignant tumors by dynamic intensity modulated radiation therapy (DIMRT), concomitant chemo-radiotherapy, clinical application of radiosensitizer, and gene therapy combined with radiotherapy and hyperthermia therapy. The Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine has alleviated the pain of patients maximally under the premise of effective control of tumor, and established the agreement prescriptions to relieve side effects of chemotherapy. The PACS/RIS system in the Department of Medical Imaging has developed studies on diagnosis, staging, evaluation and prediction of efficacy by combination of various kinds of imaging methods. The Department of Ultrasound has developed ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation to treat liver cancer, increasing the diagnosis rate and differential diagnosis rate. The hospice is one of the service agencies for cancer patients established in 20 key hospitals national wide by “The Li Ka Shing Foundation National Hospice Service Programme”, which provides free drop-in medical services and analgesic drugs for patients with advanced cancer to improve their quality of life.
Beijing Friendship Hospital Affiliated to the Capital University of Medical Sciences, formerly named Beijing Soviet Red Cross Hospital, was founded in 1952. After the founding of New China, Marshal Stalin and Chairman Mao Zedong agreed that our Party and government established a large hospital in the capital through the assistance of the former Soviet government and the Soviet Red Cross. In 1954, our hospital moved from the old site of Ganshuiqiao to the current site. Chairman Mao Zedong, Vice-chairman Liu Shaoqi, Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Zhu De wrote messages for our hospital. In March 1957, the former Soviet government handed over the hospital to our country, and Premier Zhou came to our hospital to participate in the hand-over ceremony even though he was busy with many affairs. In 1970, Premier Zhou renamed the hospital – “Beijing Friendship Hospital”.
Shortly after the founding the hospital, the Chinese government transferred many outstanding medical and nursing staff from all parts of China and chose and appointed high-quality leading cadres. Thanks to the guidance and help of over 120 experienced medical and nursing experts chosen and sent by the Soviet government, all disciplines were established and our hospital was famous for rigorous medical treatment and hospital management. This has laid a solid foundation for the all-round development of our hospital in future. After unremitting efforts of several generations of medical staff of Beijing Friendship Hospital, it has expanded rapidly and continued to enhance its comprehensive strength. It has become the first grade, large and comprehensive hospital which has all the necessary departments with special features and advanced equipment, provides good services and integrates the Chinese medicine with the Western medicine and which produces an important impact on the medical and health circles in the capital. It has made contributions to China’s medical and health undertakings and people’s physical fitness.
Our hospital covers an area of over 94,000 square metres. The new building for outpatient and emergency treatment under construction has 52,000 square metres. After construction of the new building is completed, the floor space of our hospital buildings for medical treatment will reach 170,000 square metres. At present, our hospital has 2,800 staff members, including 400 chief and deputy chief physicians, professors, associate professors, research fellows and senior technical staff with corresponding professional titles. It has a large number of sophisticated medical equipment which is commonly used in the world. It has 1256 inpatient beds and 43clinical and medico-technical departments. The number of outpatient cases comes to about 8,000 every day, and over 50,000 patients are discharged from our hospital every year. At present, our hospital undertakes the task of medical insurance for over 400,000 persons in Beijing and provides medical and health services to patients from all parts of China, over 8,000 cadres at and above the level of department and bureau and foreign guests.
Our hospital has Beijing Clinical Research Institute, Beijing Tropical Medicine Research Institute and the Urinary Surgery Research Institute of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Health. It has four key disciplines in Beijing, five key disciplines supported by Beijing municipal government and a contingent of leading scholars in some disciplines and key technical staff. It has preliminarily created a model featuring advantages in the hospital, special features in different departments and special skills in different medical staff. On the basis of the strength accumulated through comprehensive development, our hospital reaches the international advanced levels in infection emergency treatment and organ transplants. It reaches the country’s advanced levels in diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, chronic hepatic diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It undertakes research projects to tackle key problems during the period of the Ninth Five-Year Plan, projects of the State Science and Technology Commission and municipal research projects. It conducts research in parasitic and leprous research topics supported by WHO. Over the past twenty years, our hospital has won over 400 national, ministerial, municipal and bureau awards for research findings. Many research results are developed, put into clinical application and produce good economic benefits.
Our hospital is a clinical medical institute affiliated to the Capital University of Medical Sciences as well as a clinical teaching base for training high-level medical staff. It provides the seven-year postgraduate education and the five-year undergraduate education. At the same time, it undertakes a few national and municipal continuation education projects. Since the 1970s, it has begun enrolling postgraduates with the Master’s degree and doctoral students and established the postdoctoral research station. Our hospital has about 90 supervisors of postgraduates, a few professors hold posts in international medical societies or associations, and over 60 professors serve as vice-chairmen or chairmen of various medical associations of the Chinese Medical Association, Beijing branches and national magazines.
Our hospital takes the initiative to conduct international exchanges and cooperation through many channels and in many fields. We have established friendly and cooperative relations with medical institutes in 23 countries and regions, sent our medical staff abroad to pursue advanced studies, invited foreign experts to come to our hospital to give lectures and continued to introduce new knowledge and technology to our hospital and raised the academic level of our hospital.
In 1991, our hospital passed the assessment of the first grade hospital by the Ministry of Health. In 1989, the Party committee of our hospital was chosen as the advanced primary Party organization in the country. Our hospital has won the title of “garden-like hospital” given by the municipal government for 17 successive years. It has been chosen as the unit with credible pricing and measurement for 8 successive years. It has been chosen as the culturally advanced unit in the capital for 17 successive years.
Several generations of medical staff in Beijing Friendship Hospital have adhered to the spirit of “beneficence, fraternity, breadth and proficiency”. In the new century, medical staff in Beijing Friendship Hospital will proceed from a high starting point and with a new look, unite, cooperate, work hard, blaze new trails, seek innovation, advance with the times and strive to scale new heights in medical sciences with sophisticated medical skills and selfless love. In the 21st century full of challenges and hopes, they will work hard to make outstanding achievements in turning Beijing Friendship Hospital into a modern comprehensive hospital with first-class medical staff, first-class management, first-class technology and first-class services and create a beautiful future for Beijing Friendship Hospital.
The Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
The Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, founded in 1958, was originally named Ritan Hospital. In 1963, the Cancer Research Institute was added, and since then, high tumor prevention and treatment sites such as Linzhou in Henan and Qidong in Jiangsu have been successively established. In 1983, it moved to the bank of Longtan Lake in the southeast of Beijing and was renamed the Cancer Institute of the Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. The Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences is the supporting unit of the National Cancer Center. It is the location of the National Cancer Clinical Medical Research Center, the National Cancer Standardization Diagnosis and Treatment Quality Control Center, and the National Drug Clinical Research Center certified by the State Food and Drug Administration. National landmark cancer hospital that conducts all-round basic research and clinical diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The hospital is full of high-level talents, complete set of disciplines, strong technical force, and advanced equipment. It has a domestic first-class expert team including 3 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 4 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Many experts have served as chairmen or deputy chairmen in more than 70 national professional academic organizations. The hospital has 5 national key disciplines, 3 national clinical key specialties, and 1 Beijing key discipline. The annual outpatient volume is more than 840,000, the annual discharge is more than 53,000, and the annual operation is more than 20,000. Has multiple linear accelerators that can complete intensity modulated radiotherapy, image-guided radiation therapy and rotary intensity modulated radiotherapy, large-aperture CT analog positioning machine and nuclear magnetic resonance analog positioning machine, tumor radiofrequency thermotherapy equipment, flat plate digital subtraction angiography, second generation Gem spectrum CT, 3T high field strength functional imaging MRI, PET-CT, hospital-wide PACS-RIS system and other advanced equipment. The hospital can carry out a variety of treatment methods including surgery (including minimally invasive and endoscopic treatment), chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and interventional treatment. In lung cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, malignant lymphoma, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer (including rescue surgery), Cancer of the hypopharyngeal neck esophagus, laryngeal cancer (including reserved function surgery), oropharyngeal cancer, paranasal sinus cancer, craniocerebral tumor (including skull base communication tumor), intramedullary tumor, bone and soft tissue tumor (including limb salvage surgery) Multidisciplinary standardized comprehensive treatment of malignant melanoma, bone metastases, neuroendocrine tumors and other tumors ranks at the forefront in China, and some of them reach the international advanced level. The hospital also has specialized departments for cancer screening and early diagnosis.
Hospital focuses on tumor basic and clinical research. It has 1 national key laboratory, 2 Beijing key laboratories, 4 basic research laboratories, 2 basic and clinical application research centers, central laboratories and laboratory animal rooms. Since its establishment, the institute has received more than 220 scientific research results, of which 60% have been awarded at the provincial or ministerial level or above, including one national first prize for scientific and technological progress.
Hospital is the first batch of national medical continuing education bases approved by the National Health Administration. The United States NIH designated a bilateral international student “tumor epidemic” joint training site. It is an important education base for oncology professionals in the country. It undertakes teaching tasks for doctoral students, master students, international students and advanced students. There are 4 post-doctoral mobile stations, 10 doctoral programs, 12 master programs, and 82 doctoral supervisors and 117 master supervisors.
Qiang Hospital is the center of national cancer prevention research and information exchange. As a supporting unit of the National Cancer Registry Center, National Oncology Clinic Examination Center, China Cancer Foundation, Chinese Journal of Oncology, Chinese Journal of Radiation Oncology and Anti-Cancer Window, our hospital is responsible for National Cancer Registry, Urban Cancer Early Diagnosis and Early Treatment Project, Rural Cancer Early Diagnosis and Early Treatment Project, Huaihe River Basin Cancer Early Diagnosis and Early Treatment Project, and high-risk cancer discovery sites all over the country regularly publish national tumor registration annual reports and professional academic journals.
Hospital has a wide range of academic influence in the world, and is well-known both at home and abroad. Our hospital has worked with WHO International Cancer Research Agency (IARC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mayo Clinical Center, University of California, USA Los Angeles (UCLA), British Cancer Institute (CRUK) and other internationally renowned cancer research and treatment institutions signed strategic cooperation agreements. Our hospital has also established alliances with national cancer centers in Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and other countries to continuously expand the breadth and depth of foreign cooperation and exchanges.
The staff of the hospital will continue to uphold the “unity, dedication, dedication, and innovation” academy, and wholeheartedly provide better medical services for cancer patients, forge ahead, benefit the society, overcome cancer for the new century, and achieve “Healthy China 2030”. Ambitious goals and work hard.