Jordan establishes region's first cancer tissue bank

A new cancer tissue bank in Jordan will help doctors treat the disease more effectively. [Ali al-Rawashdah / Al-Shorfa]

A new cancer tissue bank in Jordan will help doctors treat the disease more effectively. [Ali al-Rawashdah / Al-Shorfa]



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The King Hussein Cancer Centre in Amman opened the first regional cancer tissue bank last week with a European grant of €550,000 ($733,000).

The project is the first of its kind in the Arab world, and the centre is expected to begin operations in 2012.

The project is vital to keep pace with international research on cancer and effective treatment methods, said a November 20th press statement from Dr. Mahmoud Sarhan, director of the King Hussein Cancer Centre.

"Specialised medicine applies individual treatment protocols for every patient based on documented data about the patient's condition and the nature of relevant genetic factors. So the treatment targets the tumour alone, without harm to sound tissues, and with fewer side effects, leading to improved health care and treatment for cancer patients."

The project will contribute to research that leads to the discovery of new treatments for cancer patients and new causes of the disease. The goal is to provide doctors greater ability to prevent the incidence of cancer among the most vulnerable patients, especially because some types of cancer are linked to the environment, nutrition, pollution, lifestyle, smoking and obesity.

There are 13 cancer patients per 10,000 citizens, according to the Jordanian Ministry of Health, which is an average rate for the region.

Tissue analysis supports early detection

Dr. Maher Alsaghir, director of laboratories and pathology for the King Hussein Cancer Centre, said analysis of tissue samples will support early detection of cancer and give an accurate picture of the evolution of the disease in its various stages and the ability to predict future developments.

He said research results will not be available for several years until tissues are analysed. The bank will serve Jordan and the region, with the possibility of entering into research partnerships with European countries.

Dr. Mohammed Tarawneh, director of the National Cancer Registry at the Ministry of Health, said it was important to establish the bank to apply the latest technologies in cancer treatment.

Tarawneh said Jordan is always seeking to cooperate with research centres worldwide, especially in the field of cancer treatment. According to the National Cancer Registry, cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease in the kingdom.

"Awareness campaigns are important because studies indicate that 20% of people with cancer are smokers," he said.

The Jordanian government spent 500 million dinars ($703 million) on health care in 2010, representing about 8% of government spending for the year, according to a study published the National Centre for Human Rights. Out of the 500 million dinars, cancer treatment spending was estimated between 100 and 140 million dinars ($140-197 million).

The five most common types of cancer among Jordanians are breast, colon, lung, lymphoma and leukaemia.

For children aged 14 and younger, the most common cases of cancer include leukaemia, lymphoma, brain, and the central nervous system.

Anwar al-Abadi, a health care journalist, mentioned successful awareness campaigns Jordan adopted in the past, such as the Jordan Breast Cancer Programme.

"The programme was a successful experiment in early detection and mortality reduction. It increased the rate of detection of the disease in its early and secondary stages to over 70% last year after it had stood at 35% for several years, and this was reflected in the survival rate from the disease."

Ahmed Taha, a college student whose mother died of cancer, emphasised the importance of establishing a cancer tissue bank.

"Any effort to combat and treat this brutal disease is a good effort that must be supported by the private sector institutions and companies," he said.

Taha noted the high cost of treating the disease and called for continued financial and technical support to institutions devoted to specialised treatment.





    The support is continuous and we can say that the Jordanian citizen receives the best medical services and care provided by all the health care centers in the hospitals, as the Jordanian health sector is in shoot and it is in keeping with a lot of developmental and scientific progress witnessed by the other developed countries. It is one of the countries that coincide with developments, and it has a lot of interests and support for the health sector.

  • تحسين قادر


    The Jordanian health sector is one of the good, developed sectors. It is moving forward continually, thanks to the right approach and the continued support enjoyed by this sector, which works in such a way as to earn the acceptance of the Jordanian citizen, thanks to the care and the continued concern for him. Despite the distress that affects Jordan because of the economic crisis that is going on in general in all the countries of the world, and which also affects Jordan in many sectors, I think that the Jordanian health sector is still coherent and performs its role in a very natural way. The Jordanian health sector is witnessing many developmental programs which put it at the forefront of the Jordanian government's interest, due to its importance to the public health.

  • حارث محمد


    Jordan is one of the countries which pay attention to the internal health system, and it has a lot of achievements in this field. The Jordanian health system is one of the developed systems which has a lot of the achievements through the experiences enjoyed by the doctors of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the modern hospitals which offer the best medical and therapeutic services to the patients, and the Jordanian government also pays great attention to health, and it works on providing all types of support.

  • هاشم


    The Jordanian government must look for other ways and means in order to provide treatment for its people. This can be achieved through forming partnerships with international and humanitarian organizations. This is in order to perform the organizational role and to provide treatment for all the Jordanian people. In fact, Jordanians must have the opportunity for free treatment, or treatment at low fees. This is in order to protect the citizens from the different diseases, and especially the diseases of the era, such as diabetes and hypertension, which have affected many Jordanians and particularly women. We know that diabetes has many negative effects on vision. That’s why it is important to receive treatment. Thus, the Jordanian Ministry of Health should open some departments in order to provide services for Jordanians who need to undergo vision surgery. It is also important to provide means of diagnosis and treatment for these diseases. Thus, it is important to develop all the health services.