Vietnam applies new therapies in cancer treatment hinh anh 1A doctor in Vinmec hospital  gives check-up to a cancer patient (Source: VietnamPlus) 

Hanoi (VNA)
- Vinmec International Hospital has become first medical facility to apply autologous immune enhancement therapy (AIET) and heat therapies in treatment of cancer in Vietnam. The new methods show good treatment efficiency and keep cancer from returning.

AIET is a treatment method in which immune cells are taken from the patient's body, cultured and processed to activate them until their resistance to cancer is strengthened and then returned to the patient's body.

The advanced therapy has seen remarkable results in cancer treatment in Japan and the US, using the patients' own immune cells to destroy cancer.

The therapy is the least toxic treatment available and is very safe. It can be used to treat patients in all stages of cancer. It helps prolong the survival period for most cancer patients, especially those who have not responded to normal cancer treatment therapies.

Vietnam records more than 160,000 new cancer cases yearly. Cancer kills 115,000 Vietnamese people each year. Cancer is becoming a major burden on public health.

In order to apply advanced treatment methods in the world to improve the quality of life and the health of patients, Vinmec, after a period of research and testing, is the first medical facility in Vietnam licensed by the Ministry of Health to apply AIET in cancer treatment.

The modern therapies are being applied in countries with developed medicine and are considered new "weapons" in the fight against cancer today.

Autologous immune enhancement therapy – new “weapon”

Lam Van Thuyen (born in 1957) in Hanoi was treated by AIET at Vinmec International Hospital.

Thuyen was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2017.  In January 2019, he was applied AIET for the first time.

Associate Professor Nguyen Tuyet Mai, head of the Medical Oncology Department at Vinmec Times City International Hospital, said that Thuyen was actively treated in line with the international treatment roadmap combined with AIET.

Thuyen’s treatment completed, Mai said, adding regular assessment results show no signs of disease recurrence, and the patient’s health condition is now stable.

“To date, I have been successfully treated with three methods of surgery, chemotherapy and AIET. After the surgery and chemotherapy, my health was much better. I ate and slept well, gained weight, and had no sore throat as before. … The quality of my life has been significantly improved”, said Thuyen.

Culturing two types of cells

Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem - Director of the Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology, said that, as a pioneer in applying advanced cancer treatment methods from developed countries, Vinmec continues to improve and upgrade the multimodal therapy to bring the best therapeutic effect for patients.

AIET is a method that uses natural killer (NK) cells, T-cell lymphoma extracted from the blood. The cells will be cultured and activated to enhance their ability to fight cancer cells. Then they are put into the body of the cancer patient. Vinmec is the only medical facility in Vietnam culturing the two types of cells.

“When being combined with traditional therapies, AIET will help increase the ability to kill cancer cells, and help patients better respond to treatment. This method is applied to treat many common types of cancer such as lung, stomach, liver, bile, pancreas, esophagus, colon, cervix, ovary, breast, brain tumor, and tumors in head and neck. The therapy also helps reduce chronic fatigue in cancer patients, and reduce the risk of influenza, pneumonia, pharyngitis, fungal infections, improving the quality of life”, Liem said.

Vietnam applies new therapies in cancer treatment hinh anh 2Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem - Director of the Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology (Source: VietnamPlus)

Over the past two decades, AIET has been applied clinically in Japan, Europe and the US. A study with involvement of more than 10,000 cancer patients at an institute of biological therapy in Japan showed that the combination between AIET and traditional treatment therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery helped increase the effectiveness of treatment by 25 percent – 35 percent.

Along with AIET, Vinmec has also applied thermotherapy or heat therapy to support treatment of cancer. This method is based on the increase of temperature at tumor locations or an area of the body to 41-43 degrees Celsius. This temperature can cause damage and kill cancer cells but little effect on healthy cells.

When being combined with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the thermotherapy increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to the above-said therapies, while promoting the self-death process of remaining cancer cells after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The thermotherapy also helps boost the immunity of patients by activating immune cells and making tumor cells more vulnerable to destruction.

The thermotherapy is considered to be effective for even cases of relapse or for those that were treated with other ineffective methods.

This therapy has been applied in many cancer treatment centres in the US, Japan and Germany to treat recurrent breast cancer, cervical cancer, bone and soft tissue cancer.

As the first hospital in Vietnam that has applied AIET since 2015 and the thermotherapy since 2018, Vinmec Times City International Hospital has built a standard process, ensuring safe immune cell transmission, without serious complications, and achieving optimal efficiency.

The process of immune cell culture at Vinmec strictly complies with the standards of the World Health Organisation and the BIJ technology transfer agency of Japan, aiming to ensure the safety of cultured cells used for cancer patients.

According to Associate Professor Nguyen Tuyet Mai, head of the Medical Oncology Department at Vinmec Times City International Hospital, initial outcomes from treatment for cancer patients at Vinmec shows considerable improvements in terms of treatment results and health status. The patient's life quality has been improved, she said.

She added that along with the application of AIET and thermotherapy, Vinmec continues to improve the multimodal therapy model, bringing good therapeutic effects for cancer patients.

In recent years, in order to provide best health care services for people through promoting the application of studies in clinical treatment, Vinmec has established intensive research institutes such as the Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology, Research Institute of Renewable Medicine, Research Institute of Cancer, and Hi-Technology Centre. Especially, in the field of stem cells and gene technology, Vinmec is a pioneer in Vietnam in researching and applying stem cells in treatment of complex diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis in preterm infants, cerebral palsy, autism, paralysis due to spinal cord injury. The hospital has obtained many positive results in this field./.