PATHOLOGISTS at the University of California Los Angeles Department of Pathology will participate in a unique commercial laboratory company that will be based in Shanghai, China.
On April 8, UCLA announced a partnership agreement with Centre Testing International Corp., in Shanghai, to operate a new clinical laboratory company. CTI is a public company that provides services in product testing, inspection, certification, and consulting. Much like Underwriters Laboratories here in the United States, CTI helps companies in many industries to ensure quality and sell products worldwide.
The partnership is the first between a Chinese company and a U.S. academic medical center to create a specialized laboratory company in China. Scheduled to open in September, the 25,000-square-foot lab will offer genetic and molecular diagnostics and other tests that exceed the scope of the average lab in China, stated Scott Binder, M.D., Senior Vice Chair, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine and Director of Pathology Laboratory Services for the UCLA Health System.
In the joint venture, UCLA pathologists will train Chinese lab specialists to operate the analyzers and interpret tests accurately. “China has a shortage of pathologists because pathology has a history of being undervalued in that country,” commented Binder. “That is one reason China has so few pathologists trained to diagnose and interpret complex test results in specialized fields of medicine. Now, CTI and UCLA have the opportunity to save lives by changing that situation.”
In addition to running clinical and molecular tests for patients with cancer and other diseases, the lab will perform routine testing to support clinical trials.
“This new lab resulted from a process begun back in 2005 when we made the first of several visits to China,” said Binder, who conceived the idea. He worked closely with Jianyu Rao, M.D., Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, whose knowledge of pathology services in China helped move the project forward.
“Since then, we’ve had teaching exchanges where UCLA has hosted Chinese pathologists and technologists for training in specialized diagnostics for skin, blood, brain tissue, and other diagnostic areas,” explained Binder. “In turn, UCLA pathologists are traveling to China to learn about diseases that are common there but rare in the United States.”
Called CTI-Pathology/UCLA Health, the new company is jointly owned by CTI and the University of California. Under the agreement signed at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in a ceremony broadcast in China, UCLA will oversee management of the laboratory. University staff will ensure that the operations meet international quality standards and seek CAP accreditation. CTI will provide capital funding and marketing expertise.