The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has joined forces with Siemens Healthineers to strengthen cancer diagnosis and treatment capacity in low- and middle-income countries, harnessing each other’s technical expertise in new ways to combat the rising global burden of this disease that kills millions of people every year.
On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and Siemens Healthineers CEO Bernd Montag signed a practical arrangement agreement to support low- and middle-income countries in establishing and strengthening safe and effective radiation medicine for cancer diagnosis and therapy.
The agreement will be carried out under the IAEA’s Rays of Hope initiative and is part of the ambition of Siemens Healthineers and its Varian oncology business to increase access to quality healthcare for everyone, no matter where they live. Both initiatives seek to further the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3, whose aims include reducing by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 2030.
“I’m very encouraged by the progress we are already seeing under the IAEA’s Rays of Hope initiative and the considerable interest it is attracting, with leading companies such as Siemens Healthineers cooperating with us to address a growing global cancer burden,” Director General Grossi said. “I’m very grateful for their support, which will help save lives.”
Siemens Healthineers and its Varian oncology business have a decades-long history of cooperation with the IAEA, which works to tackle a cancer care gap in many countries where people often die of the disease because they lack access to potentially life-saving nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy infrastructure.
“With our product and service portfolio spanning screening, diagnosis and therapy, Siemens Healthineers is uniquely positioned to support along the entire cancer pathway. This makes us a strong partner in expanding quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere,” Siemens Healthineers CEO Bernd Montag said.
This cooperation represents a continued significant shift in how the IAEA works with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors. It goes beyond providing equipment and includes broader strategies on early detection and treatment of cancer.
Included in the scope of the agreement, the parties intend to cooperate in raising awareness about the importance of radiation medicine in diagnosing and treating cancer. It also calls for collaboration in the areas of education, training research and knowledge sharing.
Rays of Hope builds on the IAEA’s six decades of experience and expertise in nuclear science to diagnose and treat different types of tumours. It aims to mobilize financial resources and partners and to galvanize political will to step up the fight against a scourge killing many who could have been successfully treated with modern medical technology.