At a cancer-treatment forum dated 28 July 2018, Dr Daryl Tan narrated a bleak tale: A 25-year-old woman who was losing her life in the battle against blood cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma. The usual treatment for this type of cancer is chemotherapy which is generally very effective. Unfortunately, this was not the case for this patient. After she completed chemotherapy, she relapsed. Her cancer came back. The standard next line of treatment was to do a stem cell transplant. The treatment again was unsuccessful. Her health continued to deteriorate. Fortunately, at that time, a new type of treatment called immunotherapy, for the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma was approved in Singapore. This treatment was prescribed to the patient as at that time there were almost no other options. After two months, her tumour was resolved. Since then, she has been continuously receiving immunotherapy treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. And today she is back to work.

What is Hodgkin Lymphoma?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymphocytes, one of the five main types of white blood cells. In its early stages, Hodgkin lymphoma may show no symptoms, or when it does, they are usually in the form of swollen lymph nodes.

How does immunotherapy help with Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment?

Immunotherapy helps the body’s immune system and strengthens it to combat cancer. It was found that in Hodgkin lymphoma, the body is unable to fight the cancer because the cancer produces a protein that suppresses the patient’s immune cells to fight the cancer. What immunotherapy does is it breaks this interaction between the protein and the immune cells, so now the immune cells can again able to engage and attack the cancer cells.

Studies on immunotherapy drugs have shown success rates of over 70 per cent where tumours become smaller, and some patients have complete remission, meaning that there is no evidence of tumour left in the body.

About Dr Daryl Tan

Dr Daryl Tan is an experienced haematologist who specialises in the treatment of blood cancers, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and myeloproliferative neoplasms. He also has expertise in diagnosing and treating bleeding disorders and general haematological conditions.

Seeking medical advice for your blood cancer or haematological conditions? Contact Dr Daryl Tan today.


immunotherapy as treatment method



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