Curia | Empowering Cancer Patients

Health Tech Innovations in Cancer Care

Health Tech Innovations in Cancer Care

Health_Tech_Innovations

New technologies have been introduced for cancer which offer a lot of promise for an improved cure. Some of the technologies are:

ChemoID – 1 ChemoID is a process through which an oncologist has a higher probability of using the most effective chemotherapy drug for a patient’s cancer. The process involves taking a small sample of the patient’s tumor and growing bulk tumor cells and cancer stem cells from it. These cells are then tested with a variety of chemotherapy drugs to determine which medicine kills the cells most effectively.

Pros:

  1. By using the most effective treatment a doctor can avoid medicines that are less effective and reduce the length of the treatment.
  2. It leads to faster and more positive results.
  3. It saves money by spending on only drugs that works.

Cons: 

The side-effects of chemotherapy vary from person to person. The usual side-effects of chemotherapy such as fatigue, pain, mouth and throat sores, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, constipation, blood disorders and nerve damage.2

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – It is a specific type of radiation therapy using linear accelerator platform. Through this process, computer-controlled linear processes  direct high doses of radiation to a patient’s tumour in controlled, appropriate volumes and sizes. This type of treatment is usually used for patients suffering from prostrate, head, neck and central nervous system cancers.

Pros:

Despite the strong radiation it minimises damage to the surrounding tissues of tumour. This process allows doctors to use higher doses of radiation effectively without harming the health of the patient.

Cons: 

  1. Slightly increased treatment time.3
  2. It gives overall larger body tissue dose owing to low radiation doses delivered to tissues around cancer.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy – Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) also involves linear accelerators. IGRT can recognise the size and shape of the tumour within the body and hence can give a precise radiation. Tumours in areas of lungs, liver, prostrate and critical organs are more prone to movement than other body parts.

Pros: 

  1. This technique helps identify the position of tumour as they can change their position because of normal body functions.
  2. It reduces toxicity.

Cons:

  1. Resource-intensive nature of delivery4
  2. Increasing dose from additional imaging.

Considering the fact that the effects of the covid-19  situation is still not under control, there is a greater need to rely on digital technology for detection and treatment of cancer. This reliance has given rise to punching in data digitally and linking of electronic health records (EHR). Fortunately, these sources of Real World Data (RWD) can offer great insights into patients, treatments and outcomes in routine oncology. However, the quality of RWD depends largely on the quality of the primary data, data linkages and derived variables assessed. RWD accumulated through EHRS, mobile applications and wearable technologies can offer greater granularity over traditional sources of RWD but their validity and applicability is not known. RWD can be used to measure performance and identify what future quality improvement interventions are required5.

Basically, RWD can offer pertinent insights into results of new anticancer therapies in routine practice. If RWD moves beyond identifying gaps in current cancer care and works towards creating intervention studies for improved patient care and outcomes, it will benefit cancer patients by leaps and bounds.

References:

  1. New Technology Is Making a Difference in the Fight Against Cancer | Palo Verde Cancer Center (pvhomed.com)
  2. Side Effects of Chemotherapy | Cancer.Net
  3. Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – Targeting Cancer
  4. Image-guided radiation therapy: Physician’s perspectives (nih.gov)
  5. Real-world data: towards achieving the achievable in cancer care | Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology

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