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H+A to design Middle East's first proton beam therapy cancer facility

International architecture and design firm, H+A, will design a $60m proton beam therapy cancer treatment centre in Abu Dhabi, the first in the Middle East

Abu Dhabi Proton Centre (ADPC).
Abu Dhabi Proton Centre (ADPC).

International architecture and design firm, H+A, will design a $60m proton beam therapy cancer treatment centre in Abu Dhabi, the first in the Middle East.

The firm was appointed by Proton Partners International Healthcare Investments to design the Abu Dhabi Proton Centre (ADPC), an extension of the existing Gulf International Cancer Centre (GICC) in the UAE capital.

The centre will be built on a site provided by SBK Holding, the holding company owned by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, advisor to the president of the UAE.

READ: UAE lays foundation stone for $60m cancer treatment facility

H+A has been tasked with designing the centre to house the compact Proton Therapy (PT) solution and other facilities, including a café, anaesthetic rooms, treatment rooms, zen gardens to aid recovery of cancer patients, and dosimetry facility.

It will also feature a conference facility with a 200 person capacity for regular meetings, offices for consulting specialists, interior design, landscaping, and additional parking.

Additionally, the centre will include the introduction of a new MRI suite and linear accelerator (LINAC) as an extension of the GICC. The facility, which is expected to be able to treat more than 1,300 patients annually, is scheduled to open in 2019.

Stas Louca, H+A’s managing director, said: “This was a very complicated project dealing with such advanced equipment. We had to work with a number of design specialists for the radiation screeningbunker to protect staff and patients.

“The radiation shielding blocks will beimported from the U.S by Veritas and the equipment is provided by IBA from Belgium.  The technology for the shieilding blocks in a unique innovation and a first for the region.

“We’ve also created a patient experience with a high-end hospitality feel. We looked at everything from materials and colours to lighting, all of which affect healing time.

“This is truly a contemporary and modern piece of architecture. We used glass for better light and views and the quality of materials are low maintenance, sustainable and high performing to surpass insulation criteria. It was an exceptionally fast design, using BIM.”

A 2016 healthcare study by Deloitte shows that a large number of GCC nationals are opting to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Kuwaiti nationals are the most likely to seek treatment outside Kuwait at 65%, while Saudis are the least likely with 35% reporting they travel abroad for healthcare, and 39% of UAE nationals claim they would fly for treatment.

Outbound medical care is becoming an increasing burden to Gulf governments, with the UAE alone spending $2bn annually to send its residents abroad for treatment, according to the survey. 

Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners International, said about the project: “The introduction of proton beam therapy marks an important phase in our plans to revolutionise cancer treatment in the UAE and with works officially started, our vision will soon be a reality.

“Currently, there are no centres which offer proton beam therapy in the Middle East, so we are proud that Proton Partners will be part of the team to be bringing it to the UAE.”

While cancer is the third leading cause of death in the UAE behind cardiovascular disease and accidents, approximately 4,500 new cases are reported each year.

UAE government has vowed to lower the number of fatalities from cancer by 2021 with programmes encouraging regular screenings and the building of more modern facilities like the GICC. 

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Jan 19, 2019