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The Karaj center will have the capacity to perform 25,000 radiotherapy sessions and treat a minimum of 1,000 patients per year.
The Karaj center will have the capacity to perform 25,000 radiotherapy sessions and treat a minimum of 1,000 patients per year.

Construction of Ion Therapy Center Begins in Karaj

Construction of Ion Therapy Center Begins in Karaj

A ceremony to mark the start of construction work on Iran’s first ion therapy center was held on Monday in Karaj, capital of Alborz Province.
The event was attended by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, as well as officials and representatives of Austrian companies that are collaborating in the project, ISNA reported.
The National Ion Therapy Center will be established within five years at the Nuclear Research Center for Agriculture and Medicine (NRCAM) in Karaj, affiliated to the AEOI.
The project finally kicked off after two years of technical, legal and financial endeavors by the AEOI along with the health and foreign ministries.
Initially, the center was planned to be established in Tehran’s Velayat Park (District 19) but it was later decided that Karaj would be better as it is a hub for radiopharmaceutical production.
Ion therapy is among the methods of particle therapy which is a form of external beam radiotherapy using beams of energetic protons, neutrons, or positive ions for cancer treatment.
Heavy-ion therapy is the use of particles more massive than protons or neutrons, such as carbon ions. Compared to protons, carbon ions have an advantage. Due to the higher density of ionization at the end of their range, correlated damages of the DNA structure within one cell occur more often so that it becomes more difficult for the cancerous cell to repair the damage.
The Karaj center will have the capacity to perform 25,000 radiotherapy sessions and treat a minimum of 1,000 patients per year.
It will also contribute to the advancement of scientific fields such as radiotherapy, medical physics and particle accelerator physics at Iran’s medical universities.
Additionally, it will employ 500 experts and create jobs for university graduates.

 Upgrading Knowledge
While the project is under construction, 100 experts will be sent to international ion therapy centers to upgrade their knowledge in the field.
The center will have three treatment rooms and one research area. It will be among the few facilities in the world to use the synchrotron (an extremely powerful source of X-rays) technology.
At the moment, radiotherapy in Iran is performed using photons and electrons while the new facility will enable the use of ions and protons that are much more effective in the treatment of cancer cells.
Currently, only Germany, Japan, China, Italy and Austria have the technology. Iran’s ion therapy facility will resemble that of Austria’s.
Launch of the advanced medical center in Iran will not only reduce health costs  by offering people treatment services, but will also prevent the outflow of more than €25 million in foreign exchange.
The medical and research center also has plans to admit patients from neighboring countries, and thus help promote medical tourism. Plans to build hotels and other touristic services near the center have also been envisioned.

 

 

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