The first Middle East Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (MESTRO) conference will be held on December 2-3, 2022 at the Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In advance of the conference, GCR held an interview with Prof. Saad Alrashidi, a Brachytherapy sub-specialist and Radiation Oncology Consultant Doctor at King Fahad Medical City - KFMC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is also the current MESTRO President and Conference Chairman.
Share with us what we have to look forward to at the MESTRO conference, December 2-3.
"The Middle East Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology Conference is really the first ever in that region, meaning the whole Gulf countries with Turkey, Pakistan and all the Arabic countries that came together to do this initiative. And it’s been a lot of work to bring all the networking professionals and stakeholders and experts in radiation oncology together to have the meeting in Saudi Arabia. This is really the first inaugural event for the civil society itself."
Tell us a little bit about the theme: “Adaptive Radiotherapy and hypofractionation – What are the accuracy & precision needs?” Why is it special the region or the current developments of radiotherapy?
"The theme will focus on adaptive radiotherapy and what more we can do for the future of radiation oncology in the region. We will push the edge for more advanced technology in radiation oncology by bringing all the stakeholders to improve the radiation delivery and quality by sharing the opinion and also sharing the initiative and the advocacy for the radiation oncology in the region.
We will focus on adaptive radiotherapy, but really we will do more. There are a lot of keynote speakers from the United States and across North America and Europe and also from Australia. And for example, Peter Orio will be coming to deliver a hypofractionated radiotherapy. There will also be Dr. Ana Kirby featured at this conference in adaptive radiotherapy, as well as from the University of Toronto."
What are some of the challenges you face and what do you hope to gain by interacting, networking and collaborating with the global community?
"There is a real lack of standardization of the treatment in the Middle East, like guidelines or delivering standard of care. There's a diverse practice and some of the places are really lacking new technology, or at least the important fundamental technology, for example, radiotherapy, education, as well as the training.
We're trying with those initiatives to come together and see the needs and demand and what can we help through global collaboration, through education, which I applaud the GCR for through their webinar education and advocacy. And we need to see the demand in the region. I see a lot of desire in the region, that many want to come together to help the struggling region."
Is there anything additional you would like to share with the GCR community and beyond who will be watching this interview?
"The GCR community is doing fantastic work through global collaboration. I am appealing to them through MESTRO so that we can do more and we can advance this work. The Middle East is huge. There are a lot of radiation oncology centers and there is a demand for more opportunities in the region to advance the education and also the training by bringing more industrial support, as well, to the region to deliver the best standard of care.
I am really asking for more collaboration with the GCR to push this initiative and I'm very sure that they will be able to help since they have been very successful in the past two years in advancing this in the European region."
Find the entire MESTRO Conference 2022 “Adaptive Radiotherapy and hypofractionation - What are the accuracy & precision needs?” list of speakers here. Their goal is to foster collaboration between networking Radiation Professionals, Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Dosimetrists, Therapists, Clinical Engineers, allied Oncology specialties and Nurses from Turkey to Oman, Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and beyond.
If you are interested in collaborating with Prof. Saad Alrashidi and others in the Middle East, please use our “Contact” form with a note detailing your interest.