Posted on March 13, 2011
The Radiation Oncology Department at Al Amal Hospital, part of Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar, has become the first healthcare institution in the world to install GE Healthcare’s premium wide bore 1.5T Optima™ MR450w MRI system with Radiation Oncology Options to provide clinicians potential improvements for tumor targeting in brain, head/neck and pelvis therapy sites. The system - supplied by Mannai Corporation, Medical division, the GE Healthcare representative in Qatar, was integrated into the hospital’s oncology treatment program in early 2011.

To commemorate the event, a special ceremony was held at Al Amal Hospital on March 13 presided by the Corporation’s Managing Director, Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari. Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Director of the Radiation Oncology program,  noted, “We have always strived to ensure that the treatments offered to cancer patients in Qatar parallel those found in any prestigious cancer centre globally. To enhance our capabilities in oncology diagnosis, planning and treatment, we selected GE Healthcare’s Optima MR450w with its comprehensive Radiation Oncology Options.”

Designed to pinpoint radiation therapy with the precision of magnetic resonance, GE Healthcare’s Optima MR450w with Radiation Oncology options was recently introduced at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology (ASTRO) 53rd Annual Meeting. The comprehensive options include MR compatible positioning devices and flat insert, coils that accommodate the positioning devices and protocols which have been optimized for high resolution, thin slice imaging. The system installed in Qatar is also configured with GE AdvantageSIM, and interfaced to the treatment planning system allowing for multi-modality image registration and virtual simulation.

Dr. Al Hammadi added: “We’re proud to be the first site in the world to deploy the system at our hospital. The system offers a 70 cm bore for enhanced patient comfort and 50 cm field of view with uncompromised image quality over large anatomical regions. Magnetic Resonance has the ability to facilitate more precise radiation therapy treatment. To receive the full benefit of this investment, we plan to use the Optima MR450w as a regular diagnostic MRI, as well.”

Daoud Shinwari, Zone Sales Manager GE Healthcare-Gulf Region, said: “GE Healthcare has been a long-standing partner with Qatar and the wider Middle East region in promoting an ‘earlier model’ of healthcare, where the focus is on identifying diseases early. This complements our healthymagination initiative – GE’s global commitment to increase access, improve quality and efficiency, and lower costs of healthcare. As the first hospital in the world to install our advanced MR Radiation Oncology options, on the Optima 450w scanner, Qatar is underscoring its commitment to provide some of the most advanced technologies to its people, and thus enhance the standards in healthcare.”

The Radiation Oncology Department at Al Amal Hospital is the only centre of its kind in Qatar and is one of the most advanced in the region treating patients from across the Gulf region. The patient profile represents a complex mix of all types of tumors, including pediatric cases and a large proportion of breast cancer patients. The Department aims to become a recognized Centre of Excellence in image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) for the region within five years.

With continued improvement in the precision of radiation therapy treatment devices, magnetic resonance imaging has the exceptional ability to differentiate soft tissue, which positions the technology to play an increasingly important role in radiation oncology and overall cancer patient management.

“This is the only scanner of its kind in the State of Qatar and one of the only dedicated MR systems in the world for radiation treatment planning,” added Dr Al Hammadi.  The hospital aims to partner with GE Healthcare and its local representative Mannai Medical to develop the systems applications and ensure that health care professionals across the region benefit from the technology and expertise available in Qatar.

“The Optima MR450W delivers advanced functionality to give clinicians the tools they need to make confident diagnoses, and patients have peace of mind from knowing that Al Amal Hospital is once again offering some of the most advanced medical equipment available anywhere in the world to protect the health of its patients,” says Nabil Khalil, General Manager, Mannai Corporation, Medical Division.

GE has recently opened its Advanced Technology and Research Center in the Qatar Science & Technology Park, a 20,000 sq meter center envisaged as hub for education, technical training and new product initiatives for the Middle East, Europe and Asia with an emphasis on four key growth areas – healthcare, aviation, oil & gas and research. GE Healthcare will work in partnership with Qatar Foundation to enable excellence in research and education to transform Qatar into a global hub for healthcare innovation, entrepreneurship and research.