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EFESO Paves the Way for Egypt’s first proton therapy centre

In the recent years, the EFESO Egypt office has been involved in a variety of healthcare consulting assignments ranging from feasibility studies for greenfield ventures to restructuring of existing healthcare facilities

, and from shaping ideas into business models to assisting businesses in implementing strategies, but for the first time, it has been mandated to prepare the ground for introducing a capital intensive (approximately US$40 million per system), state-of-the-art radiation therapy technology into Egypt.

The cancer care industry worldwide has upped its ante with the advent of improved technologies and treatment solutions. While in the beginning of the 1970's miniature video cameras and endoscopy were used in the tumour resection, the subsequent periods saw the rise of less invasive methods like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Proton therapy, a high cost, more advanced addition to the spectrum of treatment technologies, promises better outcomes while significantly reducing the damage rendered to non-malignant, healthy tissue and minimizes the rate of cancer reoccurrence.

Proton Therapy worldwide (1984-2014)

Proton therapy is a type of particle therapy that uses proton beam radiation to treat malignant tumours. It was first tested as a cancer treatment method at a physics research laboratory in the United States in 1974; sixteen years later, the US opened the first hospital-based proton facility and began treating patients. Since then, the proton therapy technology has witnessed major developments and gained importance in cancer treatment, and today it is viewed as a harbinger of better times to come in the cancer treatment space. Between 1984 and 2011, 30 proton therapy centres were established around the world. By 2014, 22 more centres were added, pointing to growing demand for the new technology.

Needless to say, most of the proton therapy centres are located in the developed world where it is relatively easy to commercialise capital intensive technologies and achieve favourable returns on investment. Growing demand and affordability has made its entry possible into developing markets. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Egypt will be among the first countries to offer proton therapy treatment to cancer patients in the region. The largest children’s cancer hospital in Egypt, and presumably among the world’s top cancer hospitals, will set up a proton therapy facility in the year 2017.

The journey started in mid-2012, when our colleagues in Egypt conducted a feasibility study covering a range of market, technology and financial aspects of introducing proton therapy in Egypt. The study affirmed the commercial viability of the project, specifically identifying potential opportunities in the regional context. The current round of efforts is a continuation of this journey of finding the most appropriate course to put the strategy into action. To achieve the now-term objectives our colleagues set out to design and execute the process of identifying, shortlisting and qualifying the most advanced options within the proton therapy spectrum, and in doing so, the consultant team brought together, and worked in tandem with a group of medical and proton therapy experts from across the world. At the time of writing this article, EFESO is managing the process of evaluating and selecting the right proton therapy solution provider.

Throughout the engagement, the EFESO team demonstrated independent thinking in leading the effort, while at the same time building on the knowledge of the experts to ensure that the right value is delivered to the client. When Egypt joins the league of countries that offer proton therapy treatment, EFESO can take pride in having paved the way for a new era of cancer treatment into the region.

The Children Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357.
(J.P. Boymans © Kind concession)
By Alexandra.Hrituleac