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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Bilateral Research Collaboration of Taiwan and Nebraska Finds that Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients Undergoing Ablation are More Likely to Have Deterioration of Quality of Life

A collaborative study between National Taiwan University (NTU) and University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) researchers finds that patients undergoing ablation, compared with those undergoing embolisation and surgery, are more likely to have deterioration of quality of life in many dimensions. This study is led by Professor Dr. Wei-Chu Chie from NTU and Dr. Mengqian Li from UNMC. The finding has been published online on 6 May, 2015 in Quality of Life Research.

Professor Wei-Chu Chie got an email from Global Health Center on October 2, 2012, forwarded from UNMC MPH that a graduate student majoring in biostatistics, Dr. Mengqian Li, wished to have her capstone learning at NTU. After a series of email and documents exchange, the content of capstone learning was finally settled and launched out. Dr. Li came to Taipei in May 2013,  and stayed from May 16 to July 5. Because of limited time, her major interest (biostatistics), and requirements of research ethics, it was not appropriate for Dr. Li to collect data from patients personally. NTU decided to use the data collected by Professor Chie from a research sponsored by the National Science Council (NSC, now upgraded to Ministry of Science and Technology, MOST), Taiwan and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, EORTC as learning material. It was a cross-cultural multi-center study led by Professor Chie involving Taiwan (NTU, Kaochiung Medical University), Hong Kong, Japan, UK, France, and Italy, about the reliability and validity of a questionnaire measuring quality of life of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the EORTC QLQ-HCC18. Based on the data collected in the study, Dr. Li developed hypotheses, conducted data analyses, and completed a capstone learning report.

To help Dr. Li have more real experiences, aside from data analyses, it was arranged for her to participate in the master seminar, lab meeting and lunch party. Dr. Li also accompanied research assistants to the oncology clinic to observe the interview for new studies, and went with Professor Chie to visit the Division of Medical Records to see the process of collecting clinical data. During her stay, she also went with post-doctoral research fellow Dr. Chieh Chiang, (PhD student of Professor Jen-pei Liu at that time) to visit the Division of Clinical Trial Statistics, Institute of Population Health Science, National Health Research Institutes, to see online data entry, data processing and maintenance. Two distance meetings were held before and after the capstone learning. Unfortunately, only the one before the learning by Skype succeeded. But Professor Chie was able to see the entire final report and gave an excellent rate.

Under the efforts of Professors Yu, Fang and Ms. Lorena Baccaglini, the capstone learning report was re-written into a manuscript “Quality of life changes in patients undergoing treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma” in July 2014. The major finding is, patients undergoing ablation, compared with those undergoing embolisation and surgery, were more likely to have deterioration of quality of life in many dimensions. After collecting comments from all co-authors, the manuscript was submitted to Quality of Life Research, was accepted after revision on March 31, 2015, and now published online. This is a very successful and fruitful experience of collaboration in capstone learning. NTU hopes to have more opportunities to collaborate with UNMC in the future.

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