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HMC hosts IAEA regional training course on radiation safety

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is hosting another International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regional training course on radiation safety and quality assurance and quality control in Nuclear Medicine Hybrid Imaging Technology. This internationally recognized training course is designed to raise the professional expertise of the nuclear medicine healthcare professionals who are attending from Qatar and the region.

HMC is well positioned to host such an event as it operates the country’s first and only operational Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) and cyclotron facility. HMC also operates a Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography – Computed Tomography (SPECT-CT) unit in the National Center for Cancer Care and Research’s (NCCCR) Nuclear Medicine Department.

HMC’s state-of-the-art two-story 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 NCCCR. It was opened in April 2012 and has scanned close to 3000 patients since becoming operational. Prior to the establishment of this service by HMC, these patients would have had to seek this procedure outside of Qatar.

PET-CT is a form of hybrid imaging that will be discussed during the 5-day event, which commenced on the 19th of October, with regional experts in the field of Nuclear Medicine. Hybrid imaging technologies uses two different modalities to image the human body. With PET-CT for example, the CT image is superimposed and used with the PET to give physicians highly defined three dimensional pictures of both form and function inside a patient’s body. This increases sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing disease of oncologic, neurologic and cardiologic nature.

In addition to hybrid imaging, the attendees will also be exposed to the PET-CT center’s cyclotron unit and radio pharmacy production lab that synthesize the radiopharmaceuticals used in PET imaging. The cyclotron is a very advanced piece of equipment that generates a proton beam to produce radioactive isotopes used in advanced synthesis modules in an ultraclean laboratory for each patient having a PET-CT scan.

“HMC has been hosting several IAEA courses in Qatar for the region. This is a unique opportunity to share the latest advancements in hybrid imaging and the rigorous quality assurance and quality control standards that comes with this technology,” said Dr. Noora Al Hammadi, Chairman of the PET-CT Steering Committee and Director of the Radiation Oncology Program at NCCCR.

Due to the advanced nature of the technology and science behind such treatment option, a great deal of quality assurance and control takes place at the PET-CT Center to maintain high standards of safety and quality associated with two different modalities in a single unit and procedure.

During this time, Qatar will host three international experts in the field selected by the IAEA. They will conduct lectures and mini demonstrations within HMC’s PET-CT Center. The regional attendees all have a background in the field and have been vetted and approved by the IAEA to maximize the benefit to their respective countries in this multidisciplinary field. Attendees include chemists, technologist, physicist, and pharmacist from different institutes in Qatar and other Arab countries.