His Excellency Abdullah Bin Khaled Al Qahtani, the Minister of Public Health and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Health inaugurated this morning the country’s first operational Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) and cyclotron facility for the diagnosis and research of cancer and other ailments.
The two storey 2500 square meter PET-CT Center for Diagnosis and Research is one of the most technologically advanced in the region and is located adjacent to the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, (NCCCR). The NCCCR, under the umbrella of HMC, is the sole integrated comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment facility within the State of Qatar.
Present at the inaugural ceremony were Hanan Al Kuwari PhD, Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and other officials.
Following a tour in the new facility, His Excellency said: “We would like to congratulate HMC on the launch of this diagnostic center which is a great enhancement for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other ailments. I hope that this facility would be a good omen for the advancement of therapeutic services provided to our patients and would save them the agony of travelling abroad in search of diagnosis and treatment. The completion of this outstanding center, from design to commissioning, within a span of one year has been a great achievement by all standards.”
The PET-CT Center, will offer complete patient care ranging from diagnosis and assessment of treatment response for cancer, cardiology and neurology patients. It houses a state of the art combination PET-CT scanner, an imaging system that gives physicians highly defined, three dimensional pictures of both form and function inside a patient's body. In addition, an adjacent Cyclotron facility is equipped to produce radiopharmaceuticals, specialized drugs that can be targeted to specific metabolism and the function of cells.
PET-CT imaging is promising for the diagnosis of a variety of conditions. The images can be used by doctors to plan precise radiation therapies that target cancer cells but avoid healthy cells, and also to monitor response to treatment. It has applications in many fields including cardiology, neurology and psychiatry.
The PET center requires a cyclotron and a radiochemistry laboratory on site to produce the radiopharmaceuticals.
Dr. Hanan said the Center is equipped with the latest technology of Cyclotron and Radiopharmaceutical production equipments to serve HMC and other PET units within the State of Qatar.
“This facility will make a substantial impact on patient care, and is a key deliverable of the National Cancer Strategy" said Dr Hanan said. “It demonstrates the commitment of HMC to provide access to cutting edge diagnostic and treatment monitoring technologies for optimal patient care.”
Prior to the opening of the facility patients who required PET-CT imaging had to seek the services overseas. “The opening of this center establishes HMC as the premier center for health care within Qatar and the region, and allows for the development of high level research capability,” said Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Chairman of the PET-CT Steering Committee and Director of the Radiation Oncology program at the NCCCR
“This technology allows unparalleled and simultaneous assessment of both form and function in the patient” noted Dr. Al Hammadi. “The PET scanner shows the physician metabolism and the function of cells, while the CT (computed tomography) shows detailed anatomy. With these combined images, doctors can get more information about a patient's condition, enabling them to make the best choices regarding treatment,” added Dr. Al Hammadi.