Oral drug to beat leukaemia trauma

There is good news for leukaemia patients: an oral drug to replace conventional chemotherapy has been formulated by researchers at the city-based Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute.

Designed for patients above 50 years whose white blood cell (WBC) count has gone up, the drug is especially effective in those who often fail to withstand the trauma of chemotherapy injections.

The drug was the result of path-breaking research by a team led by institute director Ashish Mukherjee. It has been already successfully tried on 100 patients in the city over three years. The test patients hardly contracted any infection, suffered less bleeding and their WBC count fell fast.

Apart from reducing trauma, this oral chemotherapy will be far cheaper than the conventional one. It will cost Rs 25,000, compared with Rs 2-3 lakh for a series of injections. “This will be ideal for a country like India, where most patients can’t afford expensive treatment,” he said.

“Not only does oral chemotherapy cut harmful side-effects, it also helps increase a patient’s lifespan. Leukaemia has early mortality, but patients taking this drug can live a reasonably healthy life for at least five to seven years,” Mukherjee said. “In some cases, it might even lead to a complete cure. We hope it will be successfully marketed.”

Another plus point: admission to hospital is not necessary for treatment. This is significant as there are not enough beds available for cancer patients anywhere in India.

American Society of Chemical Oncology has appointed a board that certified the drug as fit for use.

Source:The Times Of India

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