THE CANCER GROUP
In the past three years, the AAF’s Health group had direct contact with its counterparts in Algeria several times, including a short presentation to the previous minister of Health during his visit in Washington DC as well as in Algeria in December 2011 and 2012, then in July 2012.
During a workshop held in Algiers in December 2-3, 2010, the Health Group of the Algerian American Foundation (AAF) was asked to provide the Direction Générale de la Recherche Scientifique et du Développement Technologique (DGRSDT) with a report that will potentially identify areas of bilateral collaboration in the large and fast expanding field of Oncology in the world and, most importantly, in Algeria. In view of the planning by the Ministry of Health to create new regional Cancer Centers, the Cancer Group of the AAF prepared a white paper on a comprehensive National Research Cancer Center (NRCC) .
In December 2011, a team from the AAF was invited to present the white paper of a NRCC partially modeled on the National Cancer Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States of America (USA).
The main purpose of this report is to summarize the AAF’s Cancer Group’s vision of a typical structure of a self-sufficient comprehensive cancer center as adapted in most US cancer centers that are successfully treating cancer patients using a multi-disciplinary approach. One of the goals of this report is to provide a sample of a “cancer center model” that can be used to tailor the needs for the new Algerian Cancer Centers and identify specific guidelines using a multi-disciplinary approach to achieve an efficient patient care program. The NRCC would include the clinical oncology services centered in regular, mandatory and documented “Tumor Board” conferences. The research programs, mainly translational, will dovetail the mission of the Center. These programs will be centered on experimental and personalized treatments and are envisioned to be complementary to the clinical, educational, epidemiological and preventive functions of the NRCC.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the AAF was asked by the DGRSDT to help, facilitate and assist its Algerian counterparts to carry forward the project of a state-of-the art “Unité de Recherche en Imagerie du Cancer”(URIC) in Constantine, first step toward a full scale NRCC within the same site.
In July 2013, a meeting aimed at the creation of a Steering Committee “Centre de Pilotage” (CP) was held in the center of biotechnology (CRBt) in Constantine. This CP would play a major role in the phase of realization as well as in the “Conseil Scientifique” of the functional center.
The mission of the URIC would be focused on a research specific to the Algerian patient population, using the most recent imaging modalities. Priority would be given to a PET/CT (with a cyclotron), currently a key component in diagnosis, treatment and research in Cancer. The center would serve as a reservoir of data for patient care through Tumor Boards, education, statistics, establishment of prevention and treatment guidelines, scientific publications, collaboration with national and international institutions in Cancer research through conferences, seminars and teleradiology.
The anticipated following step was to officialize the “Steering Committee”, define its mission and establish the different steps toward the materialization of the project.