Proton therapy comes to Saudi Arabia

January 27, 2012
by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor
Saudi Arabia could be getting its first proton therapy center soon.

Earlier this month, the oil-rich kingdom's health ministry announced it presided over a deal between the biggest medical complex in its capital and Varian Medical Systems to construct what could be the first proton therapy center in the Middle East.

According to their plans, the Saudi Center for Particle Therapy would be housed in King Fahad Medical City, a 1,095-bed hospital complex based in Riyadh.

In an announcement Thursday, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian said it booked a $77 million order to equip the new five-room facility with its ProBeam proton therapy system, as well as two TrueBeam linear accelerators. Varian said installation would begin in the spring of next year, with treatments starting by the end of 2014.

The deal also includes a multi-year service contract, Varian said.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Amro, CEO of King Fahad Medical City, said the project would be a public-private partnership, with a consortium building, equipping and operating the center. According to an Arab News report, a private group would lease the space from the medical complex for 20 years to run the particle therapy center, and then hand over everything when the lease ran out.

The deal was carried out under health minister Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah.