Try something different-a novel medical institution under construction

ON2021-08-17TAG: ShanghaiTech UniversityCATEGORY: Global

The content below was edited from the article on the third page of Wenhui Daily, August 16. The journalist was Li Chendan


It’s not easy for a person over fifty to explore a new professional area, however, Dr. Zhu Chouwen is one who is doing just that. Dr. Zhu has made an identity transition from Vice President of Zhongshan Hospital to Director of Shanghai Clinical Research and Trial Center (SCRTC) after its inauguration at ShanghaiTech University on April 29. In his eyes, this small and sophisticated institution will be a good advance for the biomedical field in Shanghai.


SCRTC is located in Zhangjiang, Pudong, just beside ShanghaiTech, with a unique location and resource advantage. “Even though the place now is still a piece of green grass, the support behind this grass is unparalleled,” said Dr. Zhu. He emphasized that SCRTC can not only heal disease, but also produce people who can heal disease, as well as generate a batch of original medical research results. He also looks forward to cooperation from all sectors of society.


Build a patient-centered specialized and intensive disease diagnosis and treatment center

Having a glance at the name of SCRTC, many people may simply associate it with a research institution or management organization. But when Dr. Zhu was asked about the goal of its construction, he pointed out that it will be a Class A tertiary comprehensive hospital. In the first phase of SCRTC, 500 hospital beds are planned, and the diseases under focus are those related to tumors, nervous system, panvascular diseases, respiration, rheumatism, Musculo-skeletal and sensory systems, and their relevant research areas. 


Currently, there are many Class A tertiary hospitals and medical research institutes in Shanghai, and here comes the question, what is the competitive advantage of SCRTC? “We won't want it to be a normal copy of a Class A tertiary hospital. Here we will first emphasize multi-disciplinary treatment (MDT). With MDT as a regular mechanism, we will provide patients with a full and one-stop diagnosis and treatment service. This model is one of our important core elements of competitiveness,” answered  Dr. Zhu, “It is both an ideal and a goal to focus on the clinical path of disease diagnosis and treatment, to break or obscure the subject boundary, and build a patient-centered specialized and intensive disease diagnosis and treatment center.”


Another reason for building SCRTC is so it can also function as a research hospital, where up to 300 beds among the 500 planned beds can be used for clinical trials patients. The total area for pure medical research in the first phase of SCRTC accounts for 30% (around 40k square meters), and research resources of ShanghaiTech will also be a powerful support. All these capabilities make Dr. Zhu confident of reaching the goal.


Dr. Zhu said, “Medical services that simply aim to treat diseases should not become the mainstream task of SCRTC. ‘Health-oriented’ is the future trend.” He also said that under the Healthy China Initiative, it is more important to obtain and maintain a ‘general health or ONE Health’ through medical research on the basis of practice, original breakthroughs and technology transfer to achieve the application of clinical studies.


Integrate medical research results with successful transformation, and achieve breakthroughs

Unlike many domestic large hospitals that, due to some historical reasons, mainly focus on certain treatment modalities, but do not employ many influential or original academic breakthroughs, Dr. Zhu thinks that SCRTC should develop its own paradigm. It should act as an open and public clinical studies platform, collaborating with excellent hospitals, institutes and companies, to help achieve more original breakthroughs in biomedical innovations for Shanghai. In his view, clinical research work must not be limited to clinical trials at the bedside, but also include research work which shows the theory behind the disease, so as to predict, diagnose and intervene in the disease, and even be a medical basis for policy making.


ShanghaiTech has already achieved a lot in the biopharmaceutical field with work from SLST, SBME, SIAIS, and iHuman institute, and many significant original research studies were published in NatureScience and Cell. So being the solid support force behind SCRTC is therefore natural. Dr. Zhu expects that an integrated research mechanism of disease mechanism-clinical diagnosis -clinical study-technology R&D-results transformation can be established in SCRTC, as a transformative paradigm for medical research.


Benchmark to international standards and global cooperation

When asked to use a word to describe SCRTC, Dr. Zhu said “unique”, “From the perspective of the fourteenth Five-Year Plan for health, Shanghai health clinical institutions will play a very important role to support the development of Shanghai’s biomedical industry. We need an intensive and high-level team to focus on clinical research.”


Dr. Zhu thought that SCRTC should benchmark to international standards and actively participate in general regulation and policy making for clinical research. At present, clinical research in North America, Western Europe, Japan and other countries are doing relatively well. Although Shanghai started late, with good conditions, the prospects should be gratifying. We hope to produce a batch of internationally influential original results in clinical research. 


Facing the promising future of SCRTC, Dr. Zhu is full of expectations, but at the same time feeling pressure. He expects to have cooperation with high-level universities, medical institutions and companies all over the world, as well as having global talents join the center. SCRTC has an ambitious goal to improve the population’s health, and for Dr. Zhu, his goal is to lead the center to do something different, and develop its key and unique role in the mission of constructing Shanghai as a model global healthy city.