Cancer deaths seen at 80m by 2015
Dubai, February 26, 2011
Eighty million people will die of cancer related diseases worldwide by 2015, but 40 per cent of them can be prevented by avoiding the cause of the illness, said an expert at the closing session of a healthcare summit in Dubai.
The Middle East Hematology and Oncology Summit concluded today (February 26) at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, which saw up to 400 of the region’s most distinguished medical experts get together for two days to discuss the latest developments in these fields of medicine.
“This summit has even greater importance at a time when our region is witnessing increased numbers of hematology and oncology cases, especially when these diseases are considered to be among the main causes of death on a global scale,” said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, director general of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), making the closing speech.
“The experience of the DHA has been exemplary in diagnosing and curing these diseases. During the past few years, Dubai has been able to establish advanced oncology and hematology facilities and labs. These centres provide world-class diagnosis capabilities, having realized the high costs and serious implications of these diseases if they are not treated in a timely manner,” added Al Murooshid.
One of the most important recent advances in the treatment of cancer is the development of a new drug for adults diagnosed with a specific form of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) – a blood cancer that affects around 1,500 across the Gulf and is normally diagnosed around the age of 55, a statement said.
Results of an international study of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive CML presented at the summit show that those who took the new drug nilotinib (Tasigna) were less likely to see their disease progress to more advanced stages compared with patients on another drug called imatinib (Glivec), which is the standard treatment for the condition, it added.
“These study results confirm that nilotinib is more effective in keeping leukemia patients alive and does so with fewer side effects in more patients than imatinib,” said Dr Walid Abdulaziz, medical director, Novartis Oncology, which sponsored the summit.
“Most importantly, in 20 percent of patients treated with nilotinib for two years the leukemic cells were reduced to undetectable levels. It is too early to be sure, but we suspect that some of these patients will turn out to be cured and this proportion is increasing each year.'
“This is just one example of how the management of a hard-to-treat cancer has been revolutionized over the past year with the development of a new medication that slows down disease progression so helping to prolong life,” he added.
Doctors attending the two-day summit also heard presentations on the investigation, diagnosis, treatment and complications of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), advanced renal cell carcinoma, thalassemia, sickle cell disease and bone health in cancer. – TradeArabia News Service