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IAEA and NFCR join forces to fight cancer in developing world

IAEA Director General and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei will join more than 100 leading public figures, philanthropists and cancer experts at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 29 October to mark the launch of a new partnership between the IAEA and the US based National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). Through this partnership, and the endowment fund called the PACT Fund at NFCR, Americans can support the IAEA and its partners in helping poor countries to combat the looming cancer epidemic.

"The IAEA has long provided radiotherapy machines and expertise to developing countries, but the growing cancer crisis cannot be fought with radiotherapy alone," says Mohamed ElBaradei. "Our Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), which draws on the Agencys long experience in radiation therapy, is building international partnerships to assist in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and palliative care. Now, through the PACT Fund at NFCR, Americans have the opportunity to support these efforts and bring hope to millions of cancer patients in developing nations."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world is on the brink of a cancer crisis. New cases are expected to double to more than 16 million a year by 2020, unless action is taken now. Hardest hit will be low-income countries, whose health systems are already overburdened by infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

PACT, which was created within the IAEA in 2004, is forging international partnerships with other cancer organizations in both the public and private sectors. Together with partners such as WHO, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it has established pilot projects called Model Demonstration Sites (PMDS) in six countries (Albania, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Yemen) to develop and implement comprehensive, integrated cancer control programmes crafted to meet the specific needs of each country.

"PACT and its partners are working closely together to help low-income countries expand their cancer control and care capacities in a sustainable manner," says Massoud Samiei, Head of the PACT Programme Office. "Our priority through these pilot projects is to demonstrate that cancer is a preventable and a curable disease. If sufficient funds were available millions of lives could be saved, even with relatively simple solutions."

PACT estimates that the implementation of all six PMDS projects will total some $28 million. The launch of the PACT Fund at NFCR will enable Americans to donate to the efforts of PACT and its partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America to meet the challenge, and thus contribute to placing cancer on the global health agenda.

Founded in 1973, NFCR is internationally recognized for its leadership in cancer research and public education relating to all aspects of cancer care and control. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, NFCR is committed to innovative research and accelerating the pace at which new treatment and therapies are brought to patients who need them the most.

"Millions of lives needlessly are lost to cancer in developing countries because effective therapies all too often are not available," says Franklin C. Salisbury, Jr., President and CEO of NFCR. "We are committed to ending this tragic loss. We will make the PACT Fund at NFCR a stronghold in the fight against cancer in developing countries."


Contact: Angela Leuker
International Atomic Energy Agency

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