New age technology for cancer patients

A detailed review paper by six senior cancer specialists from across India on the need of Indian solution for breast cancer patients

OncoStem Diagnostics, Personalised cancer treatment, Breast canceer, CanAssist Breast, Prognostic test, Dr Manjiri Bakre

OncoStem Diagnostics, an oncology focused company that enables personalised cancer treatment, has announced the publication of a review paper on the impact of over treatment of early stage breast cancer on patients. The review indicates that in early-stage breast cancer where the risk of relapse is very low, overtreatment can be damaging to a patient both physically and financially.

To avoid this, six senior cancer specialists from across India who authored the paper advocate that patients opt for OncoStem’s ‘CanAssist Breast’ a prognostic test designed to classify patients depending on the risk of cancer recurrence. Low-risk patients typically do not benefit from adding chemotherapy to the treatment regime. OncoStem’s “Made in India” test is developed and validated on Indian patients and thus is most suitable. By analysing the aggressiveness of patient’s tumor CanAssist Breast identifies patients who will have minimal benefit (Low-risk) or who will benefit the most (high risk) by adding chemotherapy to their treatment.

The review paper brings out key insights on the need for a personalized approach for treating breast cancer. The oncologists who authored the paper are D. G S Bhattacharyya (Salt Lake Medical Center Kolkata), Dr. DC Doval (RGCI, Delhi), Dr. Chirag Desai (Vedanta, Ahmedabad), Dr. Harit Chaturvedi (Max Hospital, Delhi), Dr. Sanjay Sharma (ACI, Mumbai) and Dr. Somashekhar S P (Manipal, Bangalore). These renowned oncologists have a combined experience of 15 decades in Oncology and are key opinion leaders with many scientific publications to their names.

Commenting on the review, Dr Manjiri Bakre, CEO and Founder, OncoStem Diagnostics said, “The benefit that early-stage patients receive from chemotherapy is usually low. Since most early-stage patients can do well without chemotherapy, this makes accurate risk prediction an all-important prerequisite for effective treatment. It is, therefore, necessary to find out patients with low-risk of cancer recurrence to avoid chemotherapy, given its side effects and the toll it takes on the patients’ quality of life."

Currently, despite prognostic tests that predict risk of cancer recurrence being widely adopted in the West, added Dr Bakre, most Indian patients do not have access to these expensive tests. "As a result, most Indian patients, including those who might have a ‘low risk of recurrence’, are often prescribed chemotherapy and consequently bear toxic effects of chemotherapy treatment that reduces their quality of life. Especially in the times of COVID-19 pandemic, taking chemotherapy in a hospital can increase patient’s risk of contracting the infection. A test like ‘CanAssist Breast’ which can be helpful to doctors and patients determine the risk-benefit ratio of chemotherapy and plan accordingly,” added Dr Bakre.

There is also a huge cost to administering chemotherapy, whether paid for by the patient, insurance companies or the Indian Government. "If the use of chemotherapy can be evidence-driven using a test like CanAssist Breast, then it can lead to potential cost savings to the patient, insurance companies and Government of about Rs 700 crores per annum. This is especially beneficial in a country like India where the breast cancer incidence is rising dramatically,” added Bakre.

Prof Dr Somashekhar S P, Chairman & HOD Surgical Oncology-MHEPL (Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore), added, “‘CanAssist Breast’ is backed with robust scientific background and research. It’s highly accurate, well validated on Indian patients and has a short turn around time. The test stratifies low and high risk breast cancer hormonal receptor patients and avoids unnecessary chemotherapy. In addition to this, it is highly cost effective without compromising the outcomes. It can help oncologists, tailor make risk stratification and better treatment planning.”

Dr Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Max Institute of Cancer Care, Delhi said, “CanAssist Breast test helps in identifying the group of patients for whom chemotherapy is not helpful. We avoid the cost and side effects without compromising on the outcomes. The exorbitant cost of other tests serving the same purpose was beyond the reach of our population. ‘CanAssist Breast’ will lead to wide application of this knowledge and help tailor breast cancer treatment better than ever.”