The Fact Maker

Research to Revolutionise Treatment of Cancers in Men, Women and Geriatric Patients

Chennai : In line with the commitment to be at the forefront in the fight against cancer, Apollo Cancer Centres and Apollo Proton Cancer Centre have identified the goal of defeating cancer by driving cancer research through the enhancement of sustainable funding sources, involving individuals, companies, and institutions globally, and encouraging collaborative research efforts. 

To commemorate World Cancer Research Day, 2022, APCC’s senior oncologists gave an insight into the research that is being done at our cancer institutes, especially on cancers like prostate and breast, and cancers in geriatric patients that are most prevalent in India. 

This will help in the early detection of cancers, identify the right treatment for effective management of the conditions, and improve survivorship. 

Aligned with this year’s mission, “Cancer Research Works: Driving Progress Together”, oncologists at Apollo Proton Cancer Centre are working on research that can translate into various aspects of clinical practice, such as screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention by leveraging advanced technologies which can then be scaled to benefit the global community.

Breast cancer is India’s most common cancer among women. There are significant challenges in breast cancer management due to a high incidence of comorbidities such as obesity and hypertension. Cardiac complications due to radiotherapy is a significant side effect that affects survival in breast cancer patients.

Reduction of the impact of radiation on the heart in breast cancer patients treated with radiotherapy is an area of focus at APCC. Two registries, HyPro-B and DIB-RAD, are documenting the impact of reducing radiation dose to the heart using Proton Therapy and Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold (DIBH) with Helical Tomotherapy, respectively. The research aims to evaluate advanced technologies to reduce cardiotoxicity during radiotherapy thus improving quality of life without impacting outcomes. This is especially relevant in the Indian context in view of the high incidence of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease among Indians.

The field of geriatric oncology is in a nascent stage in India. At APCC, the clinicians are studying the special needs of geriatric cancer patients in a systematic manner, to identify modifications in cancer treatment required in the elderly cancer patient. A pilot study of 30 patients aged 65+ following cancer treatment is currently being conducted; the study will be scaled to 200+ patients’ basis of the interim results for senior citizen cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among men in urban cities. As per the data, age-at-diagnosis for prostate cancer is lower in Indian men compared with Western population. To address the growing burden of prostate cancer, APCC in collaboration with a Technology partner, have already started a study on Radiomic prediction of Gleason grades for early intervention or radiotherapy, evaluation of PSMA-PET imaging in prostate cancer as a predictor of treatment outcome in the Indian scenario, and Pro3 study for prospective evaluation of proton therapy for prostate cancer management in Indian scenario.

Dr Srinivas Chilukuri, Senior Consultant, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, said, “It is very crucial that we conduct large-scale and high-quality research on common Indian cancers in our context to help our patients achieve better clinical outcomes using cost-effective solutions. Large patient volumes and highly motivated healthcare professionals along with ever-increasing access to advanced technologies must be leveraged to achieve this. Cancer research should remain a high priority for governments, private sectors, industry, pharma, and healthcare professionals. At Apollo, we have the mandate to push the envelope towards better patient outcomes not just through excellence in service but also through research and education.”

Dr. Sapna Nangia, Senior Consultant, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre, said, “Cancer research not only improves the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancers, but also ensures that the quality of life is longer and better for the patients. Research also helps identify the causes of cancer and is pointing the way to improved methods of diagnosis and treatment. Research is the only way that paves way for breakthroughs in prevention, early detection, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. At Apollo, we stand committed to giving unmatched treatments using advanced tech and impactful clinical solutions.”

Dr Roheet Rao, AVP, IT & Oncology, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd, said, “With cancer diagnosis rates expected to increase significantly in this decade due to ageing demographics, increases in life expectancy, and advances in diagnostics, imaging and genomic sequencing, there is an explosion of data available for clinical and translational research. At Apollo, we rely on technology to assist, augment, and accelerate our clinical research programs to take to from proof of science to real-world application so that our patients have access to the latest advances in cancer management, at scale.”    

Dr Prathap C Reddy Global Research Centre serves as a nodal centre in enabling the design, conduct, and delivery of investigator-initiated research in all relevant fields. This will influence clinical pathways not only across the Apollo Hospitals Group but also across the globe.

Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd has emerged as Asia’s foremost integrated healthcare services provider that has a robust presence across the healthcare ecosystem, including hospitals, pharmacies, primary care & diagnostic clinics, and several retail health models. 

Apollo Proton Cancer Centre is the first and only proton therapy centre in South Asia and Middle East and India’s first JCI accredited Cancer hospital. APCC redefines our purpose to reboot our commitment to the single-minded focus to win over cancer.