A medical team performing a paediatric liver transplant at UMMC recently.

UNIVERSITI Malaya, through its teaching hospital University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), intends to become a centre of excellence for medical transplants in Southeast Asia.

UM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (academic and international) Professor Dr Kamila Ghazali said UMMC was ramping up its infrastructure and expertise, particularly in liver transplant involving live donors.

“In UMMC, liver transplantation service for adults began in 2017 after a collaboration with Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong. Since then, the medical team had successfully peformed transplants in four adults with tissues donated by living relatives.

“Following the success of the liver transplants, UMMC is now ready to mark another milestone and advancement with paediatric liver transplants,” she said recently.

Early this month, UMMC had successfully performed liver transplants on two children aged 1 and 10, also with tissues donated by their living relatives.

This was the hospital’s first such operation in its history in collaboration with experts from Renji Hospital in China.

With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April, a multispecialty team of 16 medical professionals from UMMC, comprising liver surgeons, anaesthetists and specialist nurses, had undergone a 30-day training at Renji Hospital, which was the largest liver transplant centre in China.

Professor Dr Chen Guoqiang (second from right) exchanging documents with Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman at the MoU signing ceremony between UM and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine recently. Looking on are Professor Dr Kamila Ghazali (second from left) and Professor Xia Qiang. -- PIC BY MUSTAFFA KAMAL

“The need for liver transplants in the country is high. Hence, with this comprehensive training added to their experience in adult liver transplant, the UMMC specialists are sufficiently prepared to perform one to two transplant cases per month, depending on their complexity.

“At the moment, there are four children and four adults in the waiting list,” said Kamila.

Following the collaboration’s success, UM, through its Faculty of Medicine, was ready to forge ahead by signing another MoU with Shanghai Jao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) in China, which is affiliated to Renji Hospital.

This MoU paved the way for more opportunities for students, lecturers and researchers to collaborate in all branches of medicine.

Both institutions saw liver transplantation as a catalyst for having more innovative collaborations to advance their knowledge in the field of medicine.

“With the signing of the MoU, we certainly look forward to more exciting opportunities for fruitful collaborations between our universities, especially in medical education, skills development and research beyond medical transplants,” said Kamila.

The MoU was signed by UM Faculty of Medicine dean Datuk Professor Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman and SJTUSM Chancellor Professor Dr Chen Guoqiang.

Kamila and Renji Hospital vice-president Professor Xia Qiang witnessed the ceremony.