Probably the most precious thing we can carry with us through our lives is good health. We live in fortunate times, medical science has led to effective treatments and cures for many diseases that, just a generation or two ago, were destroying lives.
Some diseases have been wiped out completely, others have vastly reduced profligacy and many more are now treated as a matter of routine. However, there remains one disease that continues to challenge the world of medical science across the world. Cancer.
Cancer has, and continues to, blight the lives of millions of people with more than 100 forms of this debilitating and often fatal disease. Globally, in 2018, the number of new cancer cases stood at 18.1 million with 9.5 million related deaths. Projected figures estimate that by the year 2040 new cases of cancer will have risen to almost 30 million and the number of related deaths 16.4 million.
Statistics show a trend of the higher cancer rates being in countries that have higher rates of life expectancy, living standards and education levels. There are a few exceptions to this, such as with cervical cancer. In these cases, poorer countries with lower life expectancy and living standards tend to buck the overall statistical trend.
Cancer can begin in any part of the body and causes some of the body’s regeneration of cells (cell division) to grow in an abnormal manner and out of control which then spread to other parts of the body. As the normal order of cell division breaks down the abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply inappropriately, these rogue cells are liable to form tumors.
Prognosis Improvements Through Immunotherapy
Cancer treatment packages vary, however, immunotherapy is now established as a key element in improving the prognosis for cancer sufferers. Immunotherapy can be traced back to its founding father, William Coley, in 1891. It is his work that has led to the proving of immunotherapy and its continued development into the many forms used today.
Immunotherapy is generally seen as a highly effective treatment for cancer patients whose disease has proved to be resistant to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The therapy can literally ‘train’ the body’s immune system to recognize and remember cancerous cells, this ‘immunomemory’ results in remissions which, on the whole, are longer lasting.
Thailand-A Leading Exponent of Immunotherapy
Thailand’s leading medical establishments have always embraced modern, cutting edge medical procedures and treatments. Indeed, it is that ethos which has earnt the nation worldwide respect within the medical profession, and in the area of immunotherapy, they excel.
Thailand’s cancer clinics have a comprehensive understanding of the numerous types of immunotherapy, which include monoclonal antibodies and tumor-agnostic treatments, such as checkpoint inhibitors,oncolytic virus therapy, T-cell therapy and cancer vaccines.
Within the immunotherapy sphere, world class specialists in the field create individual treatment packages customized to the needs of each patient. With a “No two patients are the same” approach, the highly personalized treatment packages are able to identify and targetrogue cells with greater precision than other generic treatment packages. All of this results in a greatly improved prognosis for the patient.
Each form of immunotherapy acts on the patient’s disease in a different way. With some therapies, the growth of cancer cells can slow down, or even stop entirely. Other treatments aid the body’s own immune system to destroy cancerous cells or stop their spread to other parts of the body.
The cancer specialist may use a single immunotherapy treatment as the optimum choice to address the patient’s needs. Alternatively, a hybrid treatment approach may be adopted, a combination of cancer treatments, as the ideal meld to maximize the chances of success. This flexible approach to cancer treatment is key to the effectuation of Thailand’s cancer treatment teams.
Monoclonal Antibodies and Tumor-Agnostic Treatments
Antibodies are proteins made by the body which fight infection. They attach themselves to antigen molecules which induces the body’s immune response system. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory. These can act in a unilateral way, boosting the immune response system, or multilaterally with the patient’s natural antibodies.
This targeted therapy is aimed at individual genes or proteins, or the tumor’s tissue environment, thus, inhibiting the tumor’s ability to grow and survive. Alternative forms of monoclonal antibodies are specifically created to boost the body’s natural immune system by reducing or stopping the immune checkpoints.
Oncolytic Virus Therapy
In a laboratory viruses are genetically modified and then injected into the body. The modified virus then enters the cancerous cells and begins to make copies of itself. The result of this is that the cancer cells literally burst and die. With the cancer cells dying, they release proteins which trigger the body’s immune system which then targets other cancer cells with similar proteins whilst being entirely oblivious to non-cancerous cells.
Quite simply, T cells are the body’s immune cells that fight infection. With this therapy T-cells are removed from the blood and then, in a laboratory, proteins, known as receptors are added to the cells. The added receptors allow the T-cells recognize and target cancer cells, this is referred to as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.
When the human body recognizes harmful, foreign proteins and its natural response is to attack and destroy. Cancer vaccines are specifically produced to expose the body to a foreign protein, these are known as antigens. These antigens act to trigger the body’s immune system to identify and attack the antigens. This allows the body’s natural immune system to work in the way nature intended it to in attacking and destroying cancer cells. These types of vaccines can also be used as a preventative treatment.
Thailand’s cancer clinics look upon immunotherapy as vital in their approach to cancer treatment. Indeed, their success rates stand as testament to how vital their work in this area of treatment is. Research laboratories across the country continue to study methods of improving immunotherapy, drugs and vaccines as part of their continued dedication to the ever improving prognosis of cancer sufferers.
Thailand is the world’s favored destination for those seeking immunotherapy treatment. With the country’s world class specialist cancer teams and its commitment to continue pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding of the disease, it is sure to remain at the forefront of cancer treatment.
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