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IAEA Strengthens Cooperation in Cancer Care at Europe and Central Asia’s First Anchor Centre in Türkiye


The Ege University Faculty of Medicine was officially inaugurated as an IAEA Anchor Centre on April 15. Photo: Ege Ajans

Europe and Central Asia’s first Anchor Centre has been officially inaugurated in Türkiye, as part of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s flagship initiative Rays of Hope: Cancer Care for All. Rays of Hope aims to expand cancer care in low- and middle- income countries, where currently around half of cancer patients who need radiotherapy cannot access this lifesaving treatment. The inauguration ceremony at Ege University Faculty of Medicine this month was followed by the first workshop at an IAEA Anchor Centre, where cancer experts from around the world developed a roadmap for strengthening paediatric radiation oncology services in Europe and Central Asia.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said: “Cancer kills far too many people, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. As an Anchor Centre, Ege University will be supported by the IAEA to increase its training and research activities, adopt cutting-edge treatments and bring together international experts and partners to tackle this growing cancer burden.” 

Ege University Faculty of Medicine in Izmir was one of five Anchor Centres announced during the IAEA’s 67th General Conference in 2023, set up with the aim of boosting regional capacity for the delivery of cancer care. These centres will help to establish or expand capacities in radiotherapy and medical imaging as well as providing international research, networking and mentorship opportunities. 

The inauguration ceremony on 15 April was followed by a four-day IAEA workshop at Ege University on paediatric radiotherapy services in Europe and Central Asia. It drew key stakeholders from across the region to develop a blueprint for strengthening paediatric radiation oncology services, including 100 participants from 28 Member States, senior radiotherapy professionals, World Health Organization (WHO) representatives and other key collaborators such as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. 

Ege University provides medical education and clinical training in Western Türkiye, where it serves around 10 million people. It has cooperated with the IAEA since 2007, participating in numerous technical cooperation and coordinated research projects, as well as clinical trials.  

“As capacity building and knowledge hubs for their respective regions, these centres play a pivotal role in advancing care,” said May Abdel-Wahab, Director of the IAEA Division of Human Health. “By providing targeted support to neighbouring countries in key areas such as education, training, research, innovation and quality assurance, these centres promise an enduring impact for Rays of Hope. Through them, the progress that has been achieved – in every clinic, community and country – can be sustained and scaled up, ensuring a brighter future of equitable cancer care for all.” 

Speaking at the ceremony, the Rector of Ege University, Necdet Budak, said: “Education and training, research and innovation, high quality integrated clinical care should be the priority in cancer management. Ege University is ready to provide its capacity in education, training, research and innovation for the benefit of the cancer patients in its region.” 

Eve-Külli Kala, Director of the IAEA Division for Europe in the Department of Technical Cooperation added: “The inauguration of Ege University and its Faculty of Medicine as an Anchor Centre marks not just the unveiling of a new centre. This event reaffirms our shared commitment to combating cancer and alleviating the heavy burden it places on individuals, families and communities in our Member States.” 

The paediatric radiotherapy services workshop identified priority actions to integrate paediatric radiation oncology within comprehensive care, to provide better care for children with cancer in the region. It explored how radiotherapy service delivery can be optimized to efficiently use existing resources at the national level; and shared best practices and solutions for patient-centred care.

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