KFU Clinical Centre to replace Rusfond's Spanish Guttmann Neurocenter Centre for Children

The parties have agreed to carry out rehabilitation of Tatarstan children with severe neurological disorders in Kazan

KFU Clinical Centre to replace Rusfond's Spanish Guttmann Neurocenter Centre for Children
Photo: tatarstan.ru

As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, one of the largest charitable organisations in the country — Rusfond — found in Kazan a replacement for foreign partners who were unavailable due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are talking about well-known European rehabilitation centres that can not yet accept Russian patients for treatment. The management of the foundation agreed to redirect children to the Scientific and Clinical Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the Kazan Federal University, which specialises in the recovery of patients after stroke, spinal injuries and other nervous system injuries. The centre obtained a license from the ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan to provide medical care to children. The first Kazan child who underwent brain surgery in the Children's Republican Clinical Hospital will entre the university clinic for rehabilitation in January 2021.

Cut off from European medical centres

The Scientific and Clinical Center of Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the KFU has received a chance to become one of the key Russian centres for the rehabilitation of children with brain or spinal cord injuries.

As it became known to Realnoe Vremya, Rusfond is starting a programme of neurorehabilitation of Tatarstan children who underwent the most complex operations under the CHI programme. From this year, their recovery will take place not at the Guttmann Neurorehabilitation Centre in Barcelona, but at the Scientific and Clinical Center of Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the Kazan Federal University in Kazan. The reorientation is caused by that the famous Spanish clinic, due to the situation with the coronavirus, does not yet accept small patients from other countries.

Information about the change of partner was confirmed to Realnoe Vremya by the head of Rusfond in Tatarstan, Natalia Speranskaya. Albert Rizvanov, the head of the Scientific and Clinical Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the KFU, announced his readiness to accept patients sent by the foundation.

Reorientation is caused by that the famous Spanish clinic, due to the situation with the coronavirus, does not yet accept small patients from other countries. Photo: medtravelclub.com

At the level of the Spanish Guttmann Centre

Rusfond has suspended sending children to foreign medical centres in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the search for a “home” centre for the recovery of young patients did not take much time.

“It turned out that it is not necessary to go far, it was always there for us, and we have known each other for a long time," smiles Natalia Speranskaya. “Up to this point, we have already worked closely with the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology of the KFU, on the basis of which our foundation has equipped an NGS laboratory to determine the HLA phenotype of potential bone marrow donors (digital characteristics of genes responsible for tissue compatibility). The Scientific and Clinical Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the KFU is not inferior to the Spanish Guttmann Centre in terms of technical equipment. Many of his patients with neurological disorders leave the hospital “on their feet”. But if the payment in the European centre is strictly in euros, and there is no way to get there, then in the Kazan centre, it is twice as low. And more children will have the opportunity to take recovery courses.”

A license from ministry of healthcare

Why did the foundation establish cooperation with the KFU clinic in the midst of the pandemic? “We could have organised rehabilitation courses before, but the clinic did not have a license from the ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Tatarstan to provide medical care to children," explains the representative of Rusfond. “Before that, the clinic was engaged in the recovery of elderly people after a stroke, achieving impressive results. After passing the neurorehabilitation programme, elderly people began to walk again, speech and memory returned.”

As you know, after a stroke, about 80% of the lost functions can be returned to a person within six months, and then — with difficulty. At the same time, she stressed that the foundation made sure that the clinic works according to methods with proven medical efficiency, which is not inferior to European centres. “They (the centre) sent information about the work of the centre to the administration of Rusfond federal fund. Experts checked, they liked this direction, and then agreed on cooperation. So the new direction of work with the KFU appeared," Natalia Speranskaya said. This autumn, the clinic obtained the necessary license, which will make it possible to apply an improved technique for children.

The clinic operates according to methods with proven medical efficiency, which is not inferior to European centres. Photo: tatarstan.ru

Priority is given to children who have undergone surgery under СHI

First of all, children who have undergone brain surgery under the CHI programme (i.e. at the state expense) will be sent to the KFU for rehabilitation. And the second category — children suffering from epilepsy, who were implanted with neurostimulants — operations are carried out in the Children's Republican Clinical Hospital. The neurostimulator costs 1,2 million rubles, plus the work of doctors — all paid for from the mandatory health insurance fund.

The first child will be admitted to the clinic for rehabilitation in early January. Before that, he was implanted with a neurostimulator under the state programme, but rehabilitation is not included in the CHI, although the patient is prescribed a three-month recovery course.

“We decided to spend a month in parts, alternating between a month in the centre and a month at home. For this child, a tripartite agreement will be concluded, where the fund will act as a payer, and the centre — a service provider," the fund outlined the standard scheme.

The choice in favour of the KFU clinic was also explained by that it is not just a medical centre, but also a scientific centre equipped with high-tech equipment: “It has higher opportunities for full-fledged rehabilitation of children.”

Benefactors explained the choice in favour of the KFU clinic by that it is not just a medical centre but also a scientific centre equipped with high-tech equipment. Photo: kpfu.ru

KFU: we have long been working with Rusfond

“The patients who are referred by Rusfond usually suffer from very serious diseases," said Professor Albert Rizvanov, the irector of the Scientific and Clinical Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine of the KFU, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya. “But in our clinic, a consultation is held for everyone and a treatment scheme is developed. For example, for the complete rehabilitation of post-stroke patients, it is necessary to involve up to 25 specialists. For children, no less is needed. Within the framework of state guarantees, such a comprehensive approach is impossible, but it is available in our centre within the framework of scientific research and paid services.

The scientist agreed that with the beginning of the pandemic, the healthcare system is experiencing an overload of Covid-19 patients: “But it has also affected foreign clinics. Their work has also been disrupted. There were difficulties with sending Russian patients to other medical centres.”

Rizvanov reminded that the KFU has been working with Rusfond for a long time: “For several years, we have been implementing a project to create a register of bone marrow donors. Rusfond together with the KFU created the first genetic laboratory in Russia, which, using the most modern sequencing methods (genome decoding — editor's note) of the next generation, determines the HLA genotype of donors with ultra-high resolution. We have created the largest database of bone marrow donors in the country. Several transplants have already been performed using donors from this registry. The domestic registry will significantly reduce the cost of bone marrow transplantation. We will not have to buy bone marrow from abroad, as it is done in most cases now for unrelated transplant cases.”

Rizvanov reminded that the KFU has been working with Rusfond for a long time. Photo: Maksim Platonov

According to him, within the framework of long-term cooperation with Rusfond, the university is also discussing the implementation of new projects to help seriously ill children.

“We are often approached for a second opinion. There were cases when we rechecked the results of diagnostic studies, including those of foreign clinics, and found inaccuracies and errors. In the future, this allowed us to clarify the diagnosis and adjust the treatment regimen. Modern tests help to make the correct diagnosis and choose the most effective therapy for a particular patient," Albert Rizvanov said.

Medicine can't always help

At the same time, the doctor warned that doctors are not always able to meet the expectations of a patient with a difficult diagnosis: “Unfortunately, medicine is an area where it is not always possible to guarantee the result. Given that we use modern equipment, highly qualified doctors and scientific support of projects, we hope for a positive result. But we cannot give a 100% guarantee that we will set the patient to his feet. Besides, the patients referred by Rusfond suffer from very serious diseases, including hereditary ones. For some of them, there are no effective treatments. All that can be done is to ease the condition of patients and improve the quality of life. Moreover, our centre develops gene and cellular technologies for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, including rare, orphan diseases, for which there are simply no drugs at this stage of medical development.”

The centre develops gene and cellular technologies for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, including rare, orphan diseases, for which there are simply no drugs at this stage of medical development. Photo: tatarstan.ru

The recovery of sick children will be at the expense of donations. Taking into account the use of the most modern new equipment and specialists with high competencies and international experience, the cost of rehabilitation will be lower than in foreign clinics with comparable quality. Taking into account the use of the scientific base of the KFU, we can hope for new discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases.

By Luiza Ignatyeva
Tatarstan