KUALA LUMPUR- There is still hope for late-stage cancer patients as treatment that could help cure the disease is now available in the country.
The Human Initiated Therapeutic Vaccine (HITV) Therapy, previously available only in Japan, has been brought to Malaysia through the Mahameru International Medical Centre.
Dr Kenichiro Hasumi, founder and president of the Hasumi International Research Foundation, said HITV is an autologous (patient-derived) active cell-based immunotherapy.
He said a HITV study on 26 patients with different advanced cancers showed 80 per cent of the patients demonstrated a complete response to the initial treatment, while 50 per cent have remained disease-free.
The types of cancers are breast, cervical, gastro-intestinal, lung, lymphoma, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and renal.
Dr Hasumi said half of the eight Malaysian patients who had undergone HITV treatment in Japan had shown complete response.
The foundation has been involved in cancer research for more than 20 years, and Hasumi's research led to the discovery of HITV in 2005.
The treatment cost $80,658.50 in Japan and takes about three weeks, but now through a local partner, the cost may come down to RM150,000.
Dr Hasumi added that HITV was highly effective for patients suffering from late-stage, or metastatic, cancer when used in combination with radiotherapy.
The treatment works for patients who have less than five metastatic cancer cells measuring less than three centimetres.
The therapy is effective for all types of cancer, except leukaemia and brain tumour.
The HITV therapy is a patient-derived, active cell-based immunotherapy. It involves harvesting the patient's dendritic cells for culturing in the laboratory, before introducing them back into the patient's body.