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Immunotherapy for cancer patients piloted in Vietnam

The immunotherapy treatment for cancer, which has just won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine, has been brought to Vietnam.

The treatment, being piloted on several late-stage cancer cases, has proven that it can freeze cancer cells using the body’s immune system. It is considered good news for cancer patients.

This is one of the five late-stage cancer patients who are among the first to be treated with the drug Pembrolizumab – one of the medicines used in immunotherapy.

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine has been awarded to two scientists who have worked on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer. The drug, produced on the basis of Nobel-winning research, was given a licence by the Ministry of Health in late 2017. The Vietnam National Cancer Hospital has applied the treatment to over 20 patients so far.

The Hanoi Medical University is also among the pioneers to apply a similar immune system treatment on cancer cases, in tandem with other approaches.

Cancer patients, who have been through surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, can now live longer with immunotherapy as it stops the spread of cancer cells. The treatment has been approved by the Ministry of Health and piloted on over 75 cancer cases over the past two years – most of which have been lung, liver, breast, and stomach cancers in their final stages.

Immunotherapy, based on the Nobel-awarded research, offers the possibility of a cure for cancer cases in late stages, which are increasing in Vietnam. However, the treatment fee remains a huge obstacle for most Vietnamese patients.