Asian Hospital launches ECT cancer treatment

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Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) has launched a new electrochemotherapy (ECT) cancer treatment, which the hospital and manufacturer of the system said is more effective and less painful for patients than standard chemotherapy treatments.

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The IQ Wave dynamic electro-enhanced chemotherapy system is manufactured by the Swedish medical equipment firm Scandinavia ChemoTech AB, and is the first such system in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, AHMC said.

Hospital officials, ChemoTech CEO Mohan Frick, and Sweden’s ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries formally introduced the system in a ceremony at AHMC last week.

“IQ Wave is considered the next generation of electrochemotherapy devices with gentle yet effective and flexible treatment capabilities to achieve positive clinical outcomes on a level previously not possible,” ChemoTech said in a statement. “The IQ Wave is approved for the treatment of a wide range of tumors, and is an effective pain management for cancer patients.”

ECT combines short electric pulses with chemotherapy administrated locally or intravenously. The short, intense electric pulses make the cell membrane transiently permeable, allowing the chemotherapeutic substance to reach the cell DNA.

ChemoTech said that the treatment can be used for cutaneous as well as subcutaneous tumors, and has been used in combination with drugs such as bleomycin and cisplatin to treat patients since the beginning of the 1990s. According to ChemoTech, about 4,000 patients worldwide have been treated with ECT since it was first introduced.

AHMC President and CEO Andres Licaros, Jr. in remarks at the introduction ceremony said, “Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) lives to its promise as a seat of global expertise with a Filipino heart. In partnership with ChemoTech, AHMC embarks on another milestone journey as a center of excellence for electrochemotherapy, bringing an innovation in oncology, available to the Filipinos who need them.”

Dr. Corazon A. Ngelangel of AHMC added, “We successfully accomplished the first electrochemotherapy in skin metastasis for breast cancer and head-neck cancer. The procedure offered the patients a renewed sense of hope and they were thankful for this. This pioneering endeavor involved the teamwork of doctors and nurses, showing passion in their work towards their patients’ quest for palliation. It was a new tool to all of us doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. It was a first in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, and we did it.”

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