The prevalence of obesity has been increasing steadily over the years and this is an alarming trend given the connection with diseases plaguing our population. About 500 people are diagnosed with stomach cancer annually, and one-third of these patients’ has a particular type of stomach cancer that is linked to obesity.
A collaborative clinical trial for the diffuse sub-type of stomach cancer has extended the lives of more patients compared to conventional treatments. Led by Dr Yong Wei Peng from the National University Cancer Institute and Professor Jimmy So from the Department of Surgery at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Head of NUH Division of General Surgery (Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery), the clinical trial gives hope and shows that patients respond better to the chemotherapy drug when it is directly injected into the abdominal cavity. The trial began in 2016 with 40 patients intake and has since increased to 60 due to the results. There are currently 49 patients under the trial, which would likely end in 2020.
Dr Yong and Prof So would follow-up with a study on effectiveness of precision medicine for stomach cancer by analyzing tumours grown from patient’s cancer cells. Precision medicine encompasses targeted treatments based on genetic understanding of patients’ diseases.