Chemotherapy, the most renowned type of cancer treatment, is known to be a catalyst of numerous side effects in patients such as diarrhea, nausea, and weakness. Moreover, chemotherapy has slim chances of 100 percent cure in cancer patients.
With this, it is inevitable for experts to look for other avenues wherein a much-improved treatment is given to patients. Such innovation has been made available in our local medical markets recently through the targeted immunotherapy.
Pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in the Philippines has introduced the targeted immunotherapy which is already being used worldwide against malignancies.
This new treatment has been proven to produce lesser side effects than chemotherapy, and was seen to improve higher survival rate against cancer.
Pembrolizumab, a particular immunotherapy drug is sought to be used against small cell lung cancer with “high expression of a particular cell protein called PD-L1.”
According to Malaya, the new treatment’s effectiveness and efficiency rely heavily on screening for such particular proteins or biomarkers, which are biological substances that indicate whether certain processes in the body are normal or abnormal.
The discovery of such biomarkers will help doctors prescribe a more suitable treatment to patients. This in turn will enable definite effects as well.
MSD in the Philippines is also banking on an advocacy that aims to support healthcare systems that will improve lung cancer screening and diagnosis in the country.
However, Dr. Ivy de Dios, MSD medical adviser for oncology global medical affairs suggests that early detection through screening is always the crucial first step.
“Many Filipinos only seek the help of practitioners when they already feel unwell or when symptoms are most obvious,” observes Dr. de Dios.
She added: “At that point, survival rate drastically lessens as more often than not, patients are already diagnosed and treated at the disease’s more advanced stages.”
Photo retrieved from philstar.com