Connect with us

Health

Genetic analyses can benefit those at risk of hereditary cancer

Published

on

cancer

By Dr. Gurdeep Sethi & Dr. Sudhir Borgonha

Genomics and genetic analysis are the most effective ways to manage cancer, not only in India but also across the globe.

Hereditary cancers are seen in approximately 10 per cent of the Western population, with a higher incidence in India. Hereditary cancer has high prevalence in breast and ovarian cancer patients. We see a very strong shift in this trend, with an increased incidence of cancer in India’s younger population. The section of the population that is at risk of hereditary cancer will certainly benefit from genetic analysis.

With genetic testing, we can understand the genetic profile of the cancer. This knowledge leads to choice of targeted drugs that are designed to counter the cellular functions of the mutant proteins. Patients on active chemotherapy regimens are reassured that they do have alternative directed treatments if they do not respond to the ongoing treatment regimen. In the long run, targeted therapeutics would replace generic chemotherapy.

There is a great potential for targeted therapeutics. Cancer medicine, however, is evolving every day. There is much research and data to process and we still do not understand the full potential of genetic analysis and the benefits of targeted therapy based on the gene mutation. In such a scenario, if there is a targeted protein identified with effective medication available, then it would be better to treat the patient based on literature available after they have failed conventional treatment options.

New therapeutic drugs are being developed every year and their side effects are better controlled. Even though the cost of chemotherapy has drastically come down over time, targeted therapy has fewer side effects and causes lesser collateral damage to normal tissue. It is almost four to five times the cost of current chemotherapy regimens. As time progresses and these medications become generic, they would replace chemotherapy in the long run.

Genetic analysis of a tumour can support the choice of therapy at the initial stages of diagnosis as well as throughout the course of treatment. Cancer cells can mutate (change) and be present as a disease in multiple variant forms. This essentially means that we need a fresh “snapshot” of the genetic profile of each patient’s cancer at every stage of the disease. New target proteins are produced due to these mutations.

To introduce new drugs to target these changes, an understanding of the genetic profile of a cancer — quite like time-lapse photography to capture a sequence of events — is absolutely vital. Liquid biopsy is precisely the technique to use to achieve this.

The challenge in this setting is getting the patient to understand the concept in the first place and then accept the increasing cost with the recurring tests. This process of longitudinal cancer care with follow-up liquid biopsies is already the norm in the United States. It makes sense scientifically, and insurance companies cover the cost. In the long run, liquid biopsy-based personalised cancer therapy will become the norm in India as well.

(Dr. Gurdeep Sethi is Founder, Millennium Cancer Center, Gurugram. Dr. Sudhir Borgonha is Chief Medical Officer, Strand Life Sciences, Bengaluru. The views expressed are personal. They can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected])

IANS

Health

Breastfeeding secrets every mom should know

Published

on

Breastfeeding

New Delhi, Jan 23: Breastfeeding seems to be a most natural process, but to some, it may be a challenge. Be patient and feed often, say experts.

Mimansa Malhotra (PT), Lactation Consultant and Lamaze child birth educator on behalf of Philips, and Shilpi Srivastava, Lactation Consultant at Mamma Mia, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, list some tips to keep in mind:

* Try to nurse within the first hour after delivery. That’s when your breast produces colostrum, or first milk. It is packed with nutrients in a small amount. And a small amount is just what a newborn needs.

* Feed often to increase supply. The rule is simple. The lesser you nurse, the lesser milk your body will produce. Ensure you are eating well and getting enough rest. You will need both as your body converts your calories to milk.

* Ensure that when your baby is latched, his/her mouth should take in as much of the dark part of your breast, the areola, as possible. The baby squeezes the milk ducts beneath that area to draw the breast milk out. If your baby is only sucking on the nipple, it will pinch and hurt you. Also, the baby won’t be able to get as much milk.

* Don’t be in a hurry to offer the second breast. It is perfectly alright to leave your baby on the first breast until he/she comes off on his/her own and then offer the second breast. Many babies take one breast at some feedings and both breasts at some. Don’t be rigid and don’t be scared.

* As the experts say breastfeeding is a learning process in which both the counterparts are learning, hence it needs a lot of patience and it may take a few days to weeks to master it.

* During the first week, the baby seems hungry all the time as the baby is trying to cope with the new environment and frequent breast feeds will not only help him in adjusting but also help your body to make more milk to meet baby’s demand.

* Breastfeeding is easier with the right help. It is always advisable to seek help from an expert if you are facing difficulty in breastfeeding, because getting the right help at the right time will make lot of difference to your breastfeeding experience.

* Breastfeeding is an art. Lactation consultant or the healthcare provider will guide you about the technique of latching and holding the baby to make breastfeeding more comfortable for you and for your baby.

* Breastfeeding helps in bonding. It promotes skin to skin contact and lets you spend a lot of time with your new born, helping in understanding his cues and requirements.

IANS

Continue Reading

Health

Why mothers’ response to baby’s babbling is important

Published

on

mother babbling baby

New York, Jan 21: Do not stop your little ones when they are babbling. According to new research, babies tend to listen to mothers’ verbal languages that further helps them in learning language skills.

Babies organise mothers’ verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction and infant babbling is the key, the research said.

Published in the journal Developmental Science, the study maintained that babies modify their sounds to become more speech-like in response to feedback from their caregivers and that they learn things have names by caregivers naming objects.

Researchers recorded and recombined the vocalisations of 40 nine-month-olds and their mothers, using a “playback paradigm”, to assess how specific forms of sounds and actions by infants influenced parental behaviour.

“We expected that mothers would respond more often when babbling was more mature and they did. The increased rate of response meant more language-learning opportunities for the baby,” said Michael Goldstein, Associate Professor of Psychology at Cornell University.

“The mothers’ speech was also more likely to contain simplified, learnable information about linguistic structure and the objects around the baby. Thus, by varying the form and context of their vocalisations, infants influence maternal behaviour and create social interactions that facilitate learning,” Goldstein said.

The researchers also found that mothers responded more often and more informatively to vocalisations directed at objects than those that were undirected.

“We suspected this would be the case because the object the baby is looking at creates an opportunity for the mother to label it, so she’s more likely to respond with specific information than when a baby is babbling at nothing,” said Rachel Albert, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lebanon Valley College.

“These results contribute to a growing understanding of the role of social feedback in infant vocal learning, which stands in contrast to the historical view of prelinguistic vocalisations in which babbling was assumed to be motor practice, with no function in the development of communication and language,” Albert added.

IANS

Continue Reading

Blog

Medical tourism in India on rise

Published

on

doctor png-min

India Tourism has been seeing a year on year growth; there has been an increase in domestic travellers as well as foreigners travelling to India. India also attracts patients from several countries for Medical treatments.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism refers to the industry where people from across the world travel to other countries to get medical, dental or surgical care and at the same time visit local attractions of that country.

Out of the total Medical tourism across globe approximately 63% is shared between Singapore, Thailand and India with Singapore and Thailand being the leaders in the field.

India has seen a regular growth in Medical tourism traveller’s and from 2013 -2016, the medical visas issued annually has grown from 1.22 lacs to 1.78 lacs.

Following are some of the reasons why people choose India for their treatment:

– World Class facilities and services available in India
– Good qualified doctors
– Cost (Some of the major surgeries in India cost 10-20% of the cost incurred in Western Countries)
– No waiting period for treatments

Some challenges which need to be addressed for patients choosing India as preferred Medical tourism hub

– Improve perception on hygiene and service across the globe
– Ensure quality and service
– Step down facilities for Post Surgical care for recovery. India lacks in centers that can take care of recovery needs post treatments and the patient has to spend more days at a hospital.
– Medical Visa – Procedure to obtain medical visa needs simplification as it can get quite cumbersome as per current regulations

Based on statistics released by the government, Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the top destinations for visitors travelling for Medical tourism. Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi have the large number of quality hospitals and take the maximum share of the pie as of today. These cities have a several hospitals to choose from and offer good connectivity across the globe.

Medical tourism or health and wellness tourism can be divided in to 2 different types:

Curative: This is where the traveller’s come in for specific treatments, a few of the preferred treatments are listed below:

Cardiac Surgeries including bypass surgeries

Knee / Hip Replacement surgeries

Orthopedic surgeries

Cosmetic surgeries

Ophthalmology

Rejuvenation: Traveller’s want to explore the ancient treatments and traditional medicines offered in India and hence they come to India, a few are listed below

Ayurveda
Yoga
Siddha
Yunani
Naturopathy

Considering that we can excel in various parameters catering to medical tourism, our country has tremendous potential to increase our share in the Medical Tourism segment.

Jay Kantawala, Founder of WIYO Travel says, “Medical tourism in India has been seeing a year on year growth in the past decade and is expected to grow 2 ½ times in the coming 8-10 years and become a US$ 1.6 Billion market in coming decade. This industry will get a boost if Visa process is simplified and simple cross border payments. In addition to this we are seeing Health care institutions opting for certifications for NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) and JCI (Joint Commission International) accreditations, which help in building trust amongst travelers”.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular