I pay attention when I hear news about the fight against cancer, I’m always interested. My mom lost her battle against the Big C back in 2005, so I am always interested to hear positive developments. That’s exactly what I got when I attended the press briefing hosted by Global Medical Technologies (GMT), a company who’s been at the forefront of making some of the most up-to-date and relevant medical technologies and diagnostics from developed countries accessible to Filipino medical practitioners and patients, and help them outsmart health issues.
I learned that there’s now a precise approach to personalized cancer management for each patient’s cancer genes. And it promises in gaining an advantage in the fight against cancer. Upon hearing “personalized cancer management” my mind tried to go back into how my mom’s cancer was treated. She went through cobalt treatment; the doctors said she don’t need to do chemotherapy because she’s in her 50s already.
From what I understood, when you reach that age as a female, your metabolism slows down and so goes the same for the spread of cancer cells in the body. And yet, 3 years after her mastectomy the cancer cells metastasized to bone cancer. Three years later, she had gum cancer, and then she went home to be with the Lord. Obviously, the treatment she received is not enough to help her win the fight against cancer.
For anyone, a cancer diagnosis is one of the worst news to hear from their doctor. Your life and future changes in an instant, and suddenly everything is uncertain. That’s exactly what my mom felt, but not just her, me and the rest of our family. Especially when we learned that her breast cancer is malignant.
After her death, I read news about cancer all the time, and would even share some of those I came across even if sometimes, it’s not verifiable. I wanted to gather information for my self, my family, and others. A few years back, I even blogged about a line of products supposed to alleviate cancer patients, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s still available in the Philippines.
But really, what if it were possible to catch the cancer in its earlier stage, early enough to take steps to better manage it? And based on my observations, in a lot of cases with cancer, the treatment is nearly as bad as the disease itself. What if, you can identify which therapy will deliver the best possible result through a more precise, more individualized management plan?
RGCC’s first step in cancer therapy is isolating and identifying Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs). CTCs are cells that have broken away from a primary cancer site and entered the blood stream. Oncocount is RGCC’s screening test that gives information on the presence and concentration of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). These cells could potentially spread the disease even to distant or-gans. Oncotrace shows the presence of CTCs, their concentration, and immunophenotype (what type of cell it is). Oncotrail is the test tailor-made for specific types of cancers used for follow up control on old cancers. With the information that their tests provide, new cancers are detected and diagnosed; existing cancers are monitored; and information about the possible risk of recurrence of a current or old cancer is provided.
Once the cancer cells have been identified and targeted, RGCC tests for chemosensitivity or chemoresistance. These tests provide guidance in deciding on the best available treatment for the individual patient. This is where personalized treatment is delivered. They take out the trial and error aspect in cancer treatment because it already determines how effective a specific treatment and how significant the side effects would be even before embarking on a chemotherapy program. Onconomics gives the information on whether or not a specific drug works on the cancer cells of the patient. Onconomics Extracts, in the meantime, shows if natural biological substances or extract can counter cancer cells—this gives the patient the option of using natural substances as a complementary treatment strategy. Onconomics Plus is a combination of the two tests.
Empirical chemotherapy may have a low percentage of efficacy because each person’s response to drugs can be different. Every person has a unique genetic response to cancer, depending on their genetic fingerprint. There are the Rapid Metabolizers, whose cells can process the drug so fast that it doesn’t have an effect on them; Accumulators, on the other hand, cannot take out the by-products of a drug so they often suffer from debilitating side effects and toxicities; and there are the Normal Metabolizers, who can normally process a drug to its active form and releases its byproducts. ChemoSNiP examines the inherited variations in genes that dictate drug response and explore the ways these variations can be used to predict how the patient will respond- positive, negative or non-response- to the drug.
Meanwhile, the Immune-Frame looks for the type of cells that are responsible for the activation or repression of one’s immune system. Cells of the primary tumor may have the ability to spread to other organs. To help doctors and patients in proactive monitoring of the metastases trends, Metastat can help identify the potential organ that can be affected in the future, like the lungs, bone, liver, and brain. This is something that every cancer patients should be receiving – monitoring – to know if their cancer cell is spreading to other parts of the body, just like what my mom experienced.The main goal of RGCC Genetic Cancer tests is to discover, analyze, and screen the cancer cells at every stage of the disease to give the patient an advantage against the fight against cancer. With the information from the tests, patients and their doctors are better equipped in creating a precise, effective and sustainable health management plan.
Meanwhile, health and wellness facilities focused on creating health can work with the patient and physician in developing a health plan that would keep the rest of the body strong and healthy, through diet and lifestyle modification, to help prevent the spread of the cancer. The attending physician or oncologist can focus more on the cancer treatment and management plan.
To be honest, going back to the time when my mom was having a fight against cancer, I felt that they were just doing the rounds in giving her medications. There were no health management plan or even recommendations coming from the doctors in reference to what should be done other than taking those medicines regularly.
The RGCC tests definitely offers a glimmer of hope when it comes to the fight against cancer. The discussion led by Dr. Ioannis Papasotiriou, CEO and Medical Director of Research Genetic Cancer Center was very informative. Knowing that I can have myself tested to determine if I have cancer cells even if I’m not feeling anything is a good development. After all, the disease can’t be easily detected. This will help those who are worried about their genetics because it’s a widely known fact that cancer is hereditary.
But Dr. Papasotiriou also said that it doesn’t always follow that if you come from a family who suffered cancer, that you’ll likely be having a fight against cancer. He pointed out that despite genetics, it doesn’t always follow that you’ll develop the disease. “The risk is inherited, not the disease itself,” explains Dr. Papasotiriou. He pointed out that the environmental factor plays a factor, triggering cancer cells to develop into a disease.
The RGCC Genetic Cancer tests are made available and accessible by Global Medical Technologies (GMT). If you’re having a fight against cancer, the RGCC tests can be requested through your physician. It is exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Global Medical Technologies, for more information, patients and health practitioners may visit www.gmtmanila.com.