China’s first UDP center for children opens in Shanghai
China’s first diagnosis and treatment center for undiagnosed diseases in children was opened on March 3 at the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai.
Established based on the standards and model of the Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP), this center is the first in China as well as outside of the United States. It will specifically cater to children suffering from diseases that cannot be determined by other medical institutions in the country.
“The top experts from all departments will gather to discuss a case once a week and images of the patients’ pathological section examinations will be sent to USbased, world-famous children’s medical institutions, such as Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Boston Children’s Hospital, for a more authoritative overall judgment,” said Wang Yi, vice-president of the hospital who heads the UDP center.
“Here at the hospital, exploratory treatment plans for the rarest diseases are analyzed by the multi-disciplinary team which always aims to deliver maximum effect with minimum risk. Such rare cases will also provide clinical experience for the doctors to treat similar ones in the future,” she added.
Huang Guoying, head of the children’s hospital, said that the hospital is the ideal choice to house the UDP center as it has the best multi-disciplinary team in the country and is a leading expert in paediatrics. Furthermore, the hospital is also equipped with cutting-edge medical facilities, such as the Molecular Genetic Diagnosis Center.
“Using this advanced apparatus, we can detect the molecular basis of the disease and determine genetic defects from the patient’s DNA sample. About 200 rare diseases in 2,000 children have been diagnosed this way,” Huang said.
Officials at the UDP center added that the hospital is planning to create an extensive network covering the entire country so that more of such patients can receive help.
At least 10 children have benefitted from the UDP center during its trial period. In late December, a 12-year-old girl from Ningbo city, Zhejiang province, suffered cough and fever for unknown reasons, which soon developed to hemoptysis and shock. A CT scan revealed that there was diffuse hemorrhage in her lungs and her hemoglobin levels had dropped significantly. She later suffered from respiratory failure.
When doctors from different departments at the Ningbo Maternity and Child Health Hospital failed to determine the cause of her illness, she was quickly transferred to the UDP center.
“After in-depth examinations, she was diagnosed with microscopic polyangiitis. We then designed a precise medical treatment plan for her and she managed to leave the Intensive Care Unit after about 20 days,” said Sun Li, the doctor in charge of the case.