Although medical science is advancing rapidly, there remain many illnesses with no effective cure, and in several of these cases the development of a new drug could lead to significant advances in treatment. Chugai Pharmaceutical continues its quest to address these unmet medical needs.
Chugai’s scientists are very aware of the difficulties faced by people with a cancer diagnosis or undergoing stem cell transplantation. We endeavour to develop new innovative therapies to improve the quality of life for patients and their families whilst improving outcomes for clinicians and patients globally.
Chugai Pharmaceutical is a leader in the development of biotech compounds and has developed a number of innovative products.
The uncontrolled growth and proliferation of abnormal cells is what defines cancer. Once established, it can invade any part of the body, thus the terms ‘cancer, malignant tumours and neoplasms’ are generic terms and encompass a large group of diseases. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery all offer treatment and possible cure of certain cancers, particularly if the condition is caught early1.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states:
‘Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012’1.
‘More than 60% of world’s total new annual cases occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. These regions account for 70% of the world’s cancer deaths’1.
'It is expected that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 within the next 2 decades'1.
Haemopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Haemopoietic stem cell transplantation is indicated for a number of malignant disorders of the bone marrow ranging from acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukaemia to aplastic anaemia and lymphomas. The process involves eradicating a patient’s immune and haemopoietic system and then replacing it with healthy stem cells. The eradication process involves chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy2.
Irradiated nuclear workers were the first people to be treated with stem cell transplantation. This has now developed into a standard treatment option for patients who suffer with haematological malignancies and non-malignant disorders. If treatment is initiated early and the right donor match is found, it can offer a cure for a significant proportion of such patients. WHO states that on an annual basis, more than 50,000 transplants are carried out worldwide. For some patients with advanced disease, stem cell transplantation remains their only hope1.
Stem cells can be derived from peripheral and umbilical cord blood or directly from bone marrow. Stem cell transplantation was initially limited to patients with matched family donors, but now, donor panels can identify suitable unrelated donors. The patient themselves can act as the donor which is called autologous transplant or another person who is compatible can act as an allogeneic donor1.
- World Health Organisation, 2014. Accessed January 2015. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/
- Essential Haematology. A.V. Hoffbrand and P.A.H Moss. 6th Edition; 2011. Published by Wiley-Blackwell.