Global Health Asia-Pacific May 2022 May 2022 - Page 28

Cancer News

New global partnership will improve access to cancer medicines
The initiative will target low and lower middleincome countries

The Geneva-based Union for International Cancer

Control ( UICC ) and several partner organisations have launched the Access to Oncology Medicines ( ATOM ) Coalition , a new global initiative to ensure essential cancer drugs are available in low- and lower middle-income countries ( LLMICs ), while helping them to deliver treatment properly .
The World Health Organization ( WHO ) estimates that less than 50 percent of the cancer drugs on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines are available in LLMICs , where about 2.3 million premature deaths have been caused by cancer . Without treatment , that number is expected to skyrocket to four million by 2040 .
“ Simply making affordable cancer medicines available does not guarantee that people living with cancer will receive the medicines they need at the right time . This new partnership is set up to ensure that lowand lower-middle income countries get the support they need to receive the essential cancer medicines where they are currently lacking , as well as the training on their use so that their availability becomes sustainable long term and addresses the specific needs of each country with respect to its cancer burden ,” Professor Anil D ’ Cruz , President of UICC and Director of Oncology at Apollo Hospitals in India , said in a press release .
The new coalition will bring together several existing initiatives to improve access to cancer medicines in LLMICs while also creating synergies and exchanging best practices .
At first , the coalition will focus on a limited number of LLMICs to gauge their health system capabilities , the essential medicines available , and the existence of programmes to improve access to medications . It will then expand its activities to increase the availability of essential medicines in more than half of the world ’ s LLMICs .
Magnetic therapy shows promise in treating breast cancer
Lab results suggest it could make chemotherapy more effective

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have used magnetic fields in combination with chemotherapy drugs to reduce the size of tumours in the lab , a breakthrough that could boost the effectiveness of standard breast cancer treatment .

Chemotherapy is commonly used to treat breast cancer , but its side effects sometimes force patients to reduce their dosage or stop it early , while its prolonged use can lead to drug-resistant cancer .
“ The ultimate hope is that the combination is so effective that it reduces reliance on chemotherapy and its associated chemo side effects , as suggested by our published preclinical studies , but remains to be shown in human trials ,” said team leader and associate professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón in a press release .
He explained that magnetic therapy was able to stimulate cancer cells that express the gene TRPC1 to increase their oxygen uptake until they died , while the surrounding healthy tissues were able to adjust to the elevated rates without being harmed , making the approach more localised and less invasive than chemotherapy .
A clinical trial involving around 30 patients with breast cancer in the second half of this year will test whether the new therapy is safe and effective in combination with chemotherapy .
26 MAY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com