The region’s first CyberKnife M6 FIM Suite was officially opened today in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR). It was opened by HE Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Qahtani, Minister for Public Health, along with HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sports and Social Activities Support Fund (Daam), Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman and CEO of Al Faisal Holdings, Hanan Al Kuwari, PhD, Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation and Mr. Abdul Aziz Nasser Al Ansari, Secretary and Acting Executive Director of the Fund, Mr. Ahmed Salem Al Ali, Director of Programs for the Fund, both from Daam, Sports and Social Activities Support Fund.
CyberKnife is a state-of-the-art, revolutionary treatment technology for cancer - effectively a compact radiotherapy linear accelerator mounted on a computer-controlled robot that can move in three dimensions around the patient. It is able to treat tumors anywhere in the body more accurately than any other treatment machine so that higher doses can be delivered with less effect on surrounding tissue.
Hanan Al Kuwari, PhD, explained how being the only organization to have this particular piece of equipment very much strengthened the cancer services offering in Qatar. “We are very proud to have the new CyberKnife Suite at Hamad Medical Corporation. This adds to our already comprehensive range of radiation treatments for cancer and will mean a speedier recovery with fewer side effects for our patients. Our mission is to continually ensure that cancer patients in Qatar have access to the most advanced radiotherapy treatments, in line with those offered within the best cancer centers in the world. The implementation of this new service will have many benefits for patients and is a major boost for the NCCCR as an international center for medical excellence.”
According to Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Chair of Radiation Oncology, the treatment technology gives cancer specialists new options for treating difficult tumors. “CyberKnife allows us to treat tumors that were previously difficult or sometimes dangerous to treat with conventional radiotherapy or surgery, such as tumors close to the spine,” she explained. “By targeting the tumor from many different directions, the correct dose can be delivered without damaging the surrounding organs at risk. This a major advance in cancer treatment and we are pleased to be able to offer the service to our patients.”
CyberKnife will work in conjunction with state-of-the-art CT, MRI and PET machines that provide three dimensional imaging technology and are available at the NCCCR, to accurately map the location and extent of the tumors. This imaging is used by radiation oncologists precisely map the tumor in three dimensions and determine the dose required. This information is then fed into the CyberKnife computer to program the robotic arm so that it delivers radiotherapy doses from many directions, always with a laser focus on the tumor site. During the treatment procedure, a separate integrated image guidance system works with the robotic arm so that it moves in synchronization with the patient's breathing, ensuring sub-millimeter accuracy of treatment delivery.
“Because the machine is continually recording images throughout the treatment and moves with the patient's breathing, any movement changes will be recorded and the system can correct itself,” explained Dr. Al Hammadi. “This means tumors can be targeted with greater accuracy than was previously possible.”
The CyberKnife M6 FIM system at the NCCCR is the first in the region and one of the few worldwide to be equipped with the M6 Incise™ Multileaf Collimator - tiny computer controlled leaves that allow for precise radiation beam shaping, further increasing the ability to target the dose distribution closely to the tumor and spare normal tissue.
Commenting on Daam’s contribution to the development of the CyberKnife Suite, HE Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al Thani said, “Daam is passionate about furthering the National Vision 2030 by enhancing the quality of life for everyone, including those living with cancer in Qatar. We are committed to promoting the interests of this great nation and will continue to provide support across sports, culture, social and charitable activities.”
Mr. Abdul Aziz Nasser Al Ansari, the Executive Director for Daam explained that healthcare is an important sector that requires continuous support from the Fund; “The support for the CyberKnife project, which opened today, was the result of extensive studies by the Fund in coordination with Hamad Medical Corporation, and will support the center becoming a center of excellence in the Middle East for radiation therapy.”
Daam, Sports and Social Activities Support Fund was established by an Emiri decree No.44, 2010 to support sports, social, cultural and charity activities in Qatar.