HYDERABAD: Immunotherapy that is closely linked to the immune system of the body is a ray of hope in the treatment of cancer. Dr Prithviraj Jampana, medical and radiation oncologist said, “Our immune system can be divided into two i.e. the innate which is our first line of defence that requires no stimulation and the second one is the adaptive system to which we present an antigen to work upon.
They both work as separate entities but immunotherapy works mostly with the latter.”
Medical experts state that although cancer immunotherapy is not new, it was being widely practised now. William Bradley Coley, an American surgeon who is considered the pioneer of immunotherapy noticed that cancer patients who had infections also had a reduction in their tumour size following which he began to deliberately inject infection causing bacteria to his patients which had mixed results.
“Cancer cells can either be in the elimination stage where they are successfully defeated by the immune system or in the equilibrium stage where the cancer cells do not progress to other parts of the body and are dormant or in the escape stage where they progress beyond the affected part. Therefore treatments that are not based on the position of the tumour but on the genetic signature of the cancer cell is needed,” said Dr Prithviraj.
He also stated that nine out of 10 patients who undergo chemotherapy are affected by the same in an adverse way. However, immunotherapy has shown long lasting results in nearly sixty per cent of the patients with no evidence of the disease in the long term. However experts also stated that close monitoring was required until a conclusion could be drawn.
Another panel discussion at the summit concentrated on the packaging and transportation of medicines. Mr Chakravarthi AVPS, MD of Ecobliss said, “Medicine transportation is a serious issue as we often have to fly in drugs from other countries and export them as well for specific medical cases. The drug, the packaging and the transportation of it is crucial. It doesn’t end with the medical company’s cold storage alone. The same kind of equipment should be available throughout the journey.”
Babettes Desfosse, a customs official in France who was a panelist stated that customs officials often have to work with various departments in the eleventh hour to ensure that medicines reach other countries at the right time....