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Immunotherapy, as one method of therapy for breast cancer patients,is growing. The therapy is believed to be able to increase the success rate in the treatment process and patient survival. Chairman of the Indonesian Cancer Foundation, Aru W. Sudoyo, on the sidelines of a medical conference on Saturday (16/12) at RS. GADING PLUIT, Jakarta, said the research and development of this immunotherapy can be combined with other therapies. Aru said, some characters of cancers cause therapy difficult. Its nature is similar to bringing your own food sources, grow irregularly, and cells which do not easily die so that cancer grows fast in the body.

Immunotherapy is a way to destroy cancer cells by strengthening the patient's immune system. During this time, the type of therapy is to destroy directly the cancer cells in the patient's body, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Hematology and medical oncologist from the Department of Internal Medicine Faculty of Medicine University of Indonesia - General Hospital Center Cipto Mangunkusumo, dr. Ikhwan Rinaldi who also practices in GADING PLUIT Hospital, explained, the therapy should be performed on early stage of breast cancer. "The potential for success is small if it is done in the later stage," he said.


dr. Ikhwan added, the type of drug that has been enforced for this therapy is trastuzumab and pertuzumab. Both drugs have received authorization from the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM). Aside the use of these two medications, immunotherapy is currently evolving to improve the quality of therapy. Immunotherapy can cause side effects, such as allergies, diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, and muscle pain. However, according to Aru, the difference with chemotherapy is that immunotherapy does not cause hair loss. Aru added, immunotherapy can be done at least for a year. According to the results of existing research, the response rate generated from this therapy ranges from 5-20 percent. "If the combination is done, it can be more effective, but it needs to be adjusted to the patient's condition," he said

While researcher from the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center in the United States, Qiau Li, said that so far some products of immunotherapy therapy for cancer have been produced and passed the clinical trials of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Monoclonal antibody on the immune checkpoint inhibitor molecule becomes one of the products produced. "Cell-based immunotherapy therapy is being developed," he said. Although research and development for the treatment of breast cancer continues to be done, Aru assess the possibility of full recovery from cancer is very small. For that, early detection remains the first step that must be done. "The mortality rate due to cancer in Indonesia does not decrease if the awareness of early detection is still lacking," he said. (DD04)

As published in KOMPAS KORAN, Monday, December 2017