Taking Guatemala From Cobalt to IMRT: A Tale of US Agency Collaboration With Academic Institutions and Industry

Angel Velarde, Kirk Douglas Najera, Hiram Gay, William G. Powderly, Sasa Mutic, Jonathan Green, Jeff M. Michalski, Lauren Henke, Vicky de Falla, Eric Laugeman, Marcos Catu, Geoffrey D. Hugo, Bin Cai, Jacaranda van Rheenen

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

4 Scopus citations


The not-for-profit organization La LIGA Nacional Contra el Cáncer, with its hospital Instituto de Cancerología (INCAN), is responsible for cancer treatment of much of the indigent population in Guatemala, a country with a population of 16 million. Annually, approximately 70% of patients at INCAN are seen in late stages of cancer, which places a great strain on the hospital's limited resources. Private clinics account for 75% of radiation therapy centers in Guatemala and have considerable resources. However, private facilities are fee-based, which creates a barrier for low-income patients; this is an especially significant problem in Guatemala, which has the highest income inequalities and poverty rates in Latin America. This article describes a project on the transition from cobalt to a Halcyon radiation therapy system at INCAN through a partnership with the US Agency for International Development's Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA), Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), industry partner Varian Medical Systems, and the US National Nuclear Security Administration to provide access to state-of-the-art radiation therapy technology while increasing the overall treatment capacity for the underserved population of Guatemala.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-872
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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