Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, while inaugurating the first ever public sector ‘Gamma Knife Facility’ at Dow University Hospital, Ojha Campus, having capacity for the latest treatment of lesions in the brain, announced to provide treatment free of cost. “This is a very expensive treatment and each procedure or treatment costs Rs250,000 and around 500 procedures are adopted in a year; therefore, the provincial government would bear its entire cost and the patients’ treatment would be made totally free.” Sindh Minister health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Secretary Health Dr Kazim Jatoi, Vice Chancellor Dow University Prof Saeed Qureshi and others were present on the occasion. The chief minister said that he has been told that there are more than 400 units installed worldwide, and this was the first Gamma Knife installed in the public sector in Pakistan at Dow University Hospital which was something to be proud of. “We have established some remarkable facilities in health sector such as Cyberknife at JPMC, Liver Transplantation Institute at Gambat, Gamma Knife at Down University Hospital,” he said. Talking about the briefing given to him about the newly established facility, Murad Ali Shah said that Gamma Knife radio-surgery was a very precise form of radiation therapy that focused intense beams of gamma rays with pinpoint accuracy to treat lesions in the brain. He added that despite its name, Gamma Knife surgery involved neither traditional surgery nor an actual knife. “Gamma Knife radio-surgery is called ‘surgery’ because its outcome is similar to that of a surgical procedure,” he said. It may be noted that Gamma Knife radio-surgery could be effective in treating tumors, blood vessel malformations and nerve conditions. The Gamma Knife radio-surgery for tumor treatment works by damaging or destroying the DNA of tumor cells so that these cells cannot reproduce or grow. Over time, the brain tumor shrinks. The CM said, “Our Gamma Knife centre was home to the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, the latest Gamma Knife system.” “This stationary unit delivers beams of highly focused gamma rays – it enables our neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to provide world-class care,” he said and added Leksell Gamma Knife Icon because it was designed specifically for treating lesions in the brain and has the greatest precision and accuracy of any radiosurgery system to date. Syed Murad Ali Shah said, as he was told that Gamma Knife was painless, bloodless and day care treatment that was highly targeted and precise treatment. The Gamma Knife radio-surgery was used to treat certain conditions of the brain, many of which could only be treated by open surgery had this option not become available. At the Gamma Knife centre, expert neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists will treat the brain conditions such as primary brain tumors, in particular, acoustic neuroma/vestibular schwannoma, pituitary tumor, craniopharyngioma, glioma, meningioma, hemangioblastoma, glomus jugulare tumor and additionally: chordoma, pediatric brain tumors, arteriovenous malformation, trigeminal neuralgia, essential tremor, epilepsy and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The chief minister said that a Gamma Knife procedure was a single day treatment which meant the patient could go home the same day back to his daily routine. Syed Murad Ali Shah said that he has been told that their facility could treat 500 patients a year and each patient has to bear Rs250,000 cost of the treatment. Therefore, Murad said that he has directed the vice chancellor to carry out treatment of the patients free of cost and his government would bear all the expenditure. Minister health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, speaking on the occasion, said that another advantage of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon was its superior ability to spare healthy brain tissue, as compared with other systems. She added that avoiding unnecessary radiation was particularly important for children, who may be more at risk than adults for late effects from radiation. Earlier, the chief minister unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the facility and planted a sapling at the center. Replying to a question about the KCR, the chief minister said that it was the need of the city and must be established. Replying to another question, the chief minister said that he had helped senior journalist late Gulshan Shaikh when he was hospitalised one or two years back and again helped him when he was recently hospitalized at Ojha where he breathed his last.