Hot Chemotherapy Bath can cure certain stage 4 cancers

Mrs Santha Radha Krishnan of Tamil Nadu was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 8 years ago. The 53 year-old home maker suffered from a serious condition, where her tumor had grown and spread to the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity and intestines). This in turn had led to the production of a jelly like substance called mucin which filled up the entire abdominal cavity and caused swelling of the abdomen, a condition known as PseudomyxomaPeritonei.

Eventually this condition would clog the intestine, causing hindrance to the intake of solid food. If left untreated this would pose as a serious threat to the patient’s life. Radha sought medical attention at a hospital in Tamil Nadu. A surgery was performed and the jelly like substance (mucin) was removed from the abdomen. But this treatment was just a short term relief, as it only removed the mucin produced by the tumor but did nothing to stop it from growing back. She had to undergo this treatment regularly as the mucin would refill the abdominal cavity within 6-9 months. After 8 years it became impossible to perform this procedure again. Her only option was to use symptomatic treatment but this could not ease the condition.
Radha’s condition began to detoriate as she was unable to take solid food. She also suffered from severe distension in the abdomen which caused difficulty in breathing. Radha’s son started looking for treatment options for this condition. While searching online he came across Fortis Hospital and Dr Aditi Bhatt who is a specialist in the treatment of Peritoneal cancers.

After much deliberation the family decided to bring Radha to Fortis. She underwent an aggressive form of therapy called Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) “This procedure completely removes the tumor from the abdominal cavity and destroys residual microscopic disease with a hot chemotherapy solution directly administered into the peritoneal cavity,” said Dr. Aditi Bhatt, Consultant Surgical Oncologist at Fortis Hospital. Dr Aditi is one of the first surgeons to start this form of therapy in India after her training in France and has one of the largest experiences with this treatment in the country.

Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC is a complex treatment used to treated cancer that has spread to the peritoneal lining (stage 4 cancer). Generally stage 4 cancer is treated with chemotherapy and most patients survive for 6-9 months after diagnosis. However, for certain tumors peritoneal cancer spread can be treated by this combined therapy. This treatment not only prolongs the patients life but also improves the quality of life. The types of cancers that can be treated with this therapy are colon cancer, ovarian cancer, selected patients with stomach cancer and some rare cancers like appendix cancer, pseudomyxomaperitonei and mesothelioma.

Its over one year now since the surgery, Mrs Santha has recovered well and continues to lead a normal life. She is has been free of tumor since the surgery.

Biosimilar Trastuzumab (Hertraz) Approved in India

A biosimilar version of the breast cancer targeted therapy trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech/Roche) has been approved in India.

Trastuzumab is used in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer (around 25% of all breast cancer).

The new biosimilar product will be marketed under the trade name Hertraz by Mylan and as CANMAb by Biocon.

The 2 companies have coexclusive rights with for the product in India, and they plan to launch the drug in early 2014. “We look forward to bringing a high-quality, affordable product to patients in India who need it,” they said in a statement.

The approval of what is essentially a generic version of the targeted drug comes 3 months after Roche’s patent on Herceptin expired in India, notes a report in the International Business Times.

“This is a major milestone for both partners as it is the world’s first biosimilar trastuzumab to be accorded regulatory approval,” commented Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chair and managing director at Biocon. “The Indian approval is an encouraging milepost as we plan to leverage these data to support regulatory filings in several countries across the globe,” he said in a statement.

Biocon noted that global sales of trastuzumab were US$6.4 billion in 2012, and sales in India were around $21 million.

Mylan has exclusive commercialization rights for the biosimilar trastuzumab product in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States, and in European Free Trade Association countries.

Herceptin was first launched 1998. Currently in the United States, treatment with this drug costs around $4500 per month. The manufacturers, Genentech/Roche, have developed 2 more HER2-targeted agents, pertuzumab (Perjeta), launched in 2012, which costs around $6000 per month, and most recently ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), which costs around $9800 per month in the United States.