One in four children with childhood cancer who receive treatment at the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital comes from outside Spain due to the high-complexity therapies offered at this centre. For example, an immunotherapy for treating the most aggressive cases of neuroblastoma that is only offered at the SJD and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
In 2018, the Oncology Department of the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital received 289 new patients, 78 of whom were from outside Spain. Nearly 30% travelled from China. The rest came from Russia, Venezuela, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, among others. However, the majority of the Hospital’s new patients, 73%, are from Catalonia and other Spanish autonomous communities, and they receive treatment financed by the public health service.
In 2020, the SJD Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona (PCCB) will open its doors to become one of the most important oncology centres for children in Europe. In addition to the donations received for the construction of this centre (a total of 30 million euros), the fundraising campaign (which is still active) is now focused on offering the possibility of treating children who have no access to certain therapies in their home country. In fact, the Pediatric Cancer Center’s first patient has already started treatment at the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital.
Reference hospital for leading international foundations
The experience of the Paediatric Oncology team of the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital means that leading international foundations related to childhood cancer refer patients to the centre. This is the case of the British foundation, Solving Kids’ Cancer, which has done so with a number of children requiring treatments that are not offered by the British National Health Service (NHS). Usually it is experimental and new treatments, such as that being carried out for the most aggressive cases of neuroblastoma.
In over 70% of cases, the treatment required by international patients has been funded (either wholly or partially) by the government of their home country or by a foundation. By way of example, the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital is a paediatric centre of excellence in Europe for the United Arab Emirates. The government of the United Arab Emirates sends children suffering from a complex disease to the paediatric centre in Barcelona.