Today, cancer continues to be one of the leading health crises globally and in Thailand. Added, the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus since late 2019 has mounted significant burdens on the healthcare industry and healthcare professionals, which in turn poses a threat on patients’ access to treatment. This especially holds true for cancer patients that have a high risk of infection. Therefore, in order to solve this on-going concern, it is imperative for the healthcare industry to adapt accordingly in a timely manner; which may include the implementation of telemedicine or the development of various applications as well as the innovation of diagnostics and treatment that will help reduce time spent at the hospital for patients. As a result, this will help minimize the risks of infection for patients, as well as reduce the impact of overcrowding within hospitals.
Traditionally, intravenous (IV) therapy is the most used method for administering chemotherapy, in which the process usually takes considerably long. This results in patients having to spend hours at the hospital per treatment cycle. To combat this problem enters the recent development of subcutaneous injection, which has been introduced to address the growing demand in terms of enhancing the quality of life for breast cancer patients and their caregivers as well as raise the standard of care in the healthcare system. This new treatment alternative can help increase convenience for patients living in Thailand by reducing time spent at the hospital and subsequently the risk of COVID-19 infection. Thus, minimizing concerns for patients and their caregivers as a result.
Piyawan Tienchaiananda, MD, Medical oncologist, Rajavithi Hospital stated “The spread of the COVID-19 virus has a direct impact on patients and healthcare professionals who are met with obstacles when it comes to receiving and delivering treatment. Whereby, cancer patients are the most affected, as they are more at risk of infection and complications than the general public. Today, there has been an exponential advancement of modern medical innovations, such as targeted therapy, that specifically targets HER-2 positive breast cancer cells with subcutaneous injection. This innovation was developed to improve treatment efficacy by combining two monoclonal antibodies that can be administered by a single subcutaneous injection. Whereby, the combination of these two monoclonal antibodies for HER-2 positive breast cancer patients has been clinically proven to be as effective as its intravenous alternative2. This innovative subcutaneous HER-2 positive treatment can also reduce the risk of the cancer relapse, as well as significantly increase the overall survival rate for HER-2 positive breast cancer at every stage3-5. Additionally, this innovative treatment can help patients reduce treatment time by up to 90% when compared to the intravenous method from 3-4 hours per treatment cycle to mere minutes. This in turn will help enhance the patients’ quality of lives and minimize the burden on healthcare professionals, as well as reduce the crowdedness within the hospital1.”
The continuous advancement of treatment for cancer patients is a result of the dedication of all stakeholders, that work together to promote the innovation of personalized healthcare. Therefore, public health providers can better manage and effectively handle the cancer situation given the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Roche Thailand is committed to our goal of continuously increasing the overall survival rate and enhancing the quality of lives for patients through research and development, innovative diagnostics and science-based treatment. In addition, we strive to work alongside all stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, the public and private sectors to drive the accessibility of treatment and care within Thailand to be more comprehensive. This especially holds true for diseases such as breast cancer where patients have higher chances of a full recovery and high survival rate should they receive early diagnosis and treatment,” Farid Bidgoli, General Manager, Roche Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos said in a closing statement.
The innovative treatment for breast cancer patients that combines two monoclonal antibodies, administered via subcutaneous injection is considered a medical milestone aimed at raising the standard of care and improving outcomes for patients. This is especially crucial during the current COVID-19 pandemic where time has become an important factor in a patient’s access to care at the hospital. Therefore, effective, and time-saving treatment can help reduce the risk to infections for cancer patients and their caretakers. At the same time, medical professionals can work more flexibly, which will in turn help reduce crowdedness within the hospital and subsequently give medical professionals more time to work on other patients as well.
O’Shaughnessy J, Sousa S, Cruz J, et al. Annal Oncol.2020; 31: S306-S307
Tan AR, Im S-A, Mattar A, et al. Lancet Oncol. 2020; (published online Dec21.)
Swain SM, Baselga J, Kim SB, et al. N Engl J Med. 2015; 372:724-734
Gianni L, Pienkowski T, et al. Lancet Oncol 2016; 17: 791–800
Von Minckwitz G, Procter M, et al. N Engl J Med. 2017;377:122-31.
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