MD Anderson and King Hussein Cancer Center Sign Sister Institution Agreement

MD Anderson News Release 11/4/11

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center signed a Sister Institution agreement in Amman, Jordan. Mahmoud Sarhan, M.D., CEO and director general of KHCC and Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and provost of MD Anderson, signed on behalf of their respective institutions. Sarhan, a pediatric hematologic oncologist and stem cell transplantation physician, sees the collaboration as a way to strengthen KHCC's already laudable cancer care.

"KHCC has a wonderful cancer treatment program," says Sarhan. "But there are two areas we hope to improve by working with MD Anderson; our integrative medicine and personalized cancer care."

The relationship between KHCC and MD Anderson began when both institutions participated in the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research begun in 2006 by former first lady Laura Bush. Building off this collaboration, KHCC and the American University of Beirut (AUB), also an MD Anderson Sister Institution, held a joint-inaugural conference in Beirut, Lebanon in January 2011. Each year the location of the annual conference will rotate between the two Middle Eastern centers. This year's conference focused on topics in women's cancers, and eight faculty from MD Anderson attended and presented on topics in gynecologic oncology and breast malignancies.

Also in 2011, Ana Maria Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., associate professor in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology, and Hikmat Abdel-Razeq, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at KHCC received support from Global Academic Programs' Sister Institution Network Fund for their project looking at the frequency and outcomes of breast cancer susceptibility proteins 1 and 2 (BRCA 1/2) mutations in Jordanian women treated at KHCC for breast cancer. Only a few studies have evaluated BRCA mutations in Arab populations and this project hopes to provide data to help KHCC better manage breast cancer risk and treatment, as well as justify the need for a genetic counseling clinic.

"Initially, our relationship with KHCC will emphasize breast and cervical cancer, hematologic malignancies and gastrointestinal cancer," Oliver Bogler, Ph.D. and vice president of GAP says. "As with the annual conference, KHCC will also allow us to partner with other SIs in the Middle East and cooperatively lessen the area's cancer burden."

As the region's only comprehensive cancer center, KHCC's mission is to provide the highest standards of care as well as access to education, training, public awareness and research. One way KHCC works to achieve these goals is through collaborations with cancer centers like MD Anderson. Both institutions hope the SI agreement will allow for development of additional research projects and interactions.

"KHCC is a strong partner in the fight against cancer in Jordan and throughout the Middle East," DuBois commented. "Both centers have physicians who are intently interested in engaging to improve cancer care. By working together, we will be able to make a significant impact on those dealing with cancer." 11/4/11