At the Eurocancer Congres in Paris, which took place from June 3rd to 5th, a direct connection via satellite TV was established between the Antwerp University Hospital and the University of Pisa in order to allow oncology experts from all over Europe to exchange data on cancer research and treatment. Professor Jan Vermorken chaired a forum, discussing a new medicine which is successfully being administered to treat ovarian cancer.
A great number of interested physicians followed the discussion in one of the auditoria of the Antwerp University Hospital. Professor Vermorken stated that the new generation of drugs, based on the healing power of taxus, is able to substantially increase the life expectation of the patient. Specialists from the University of Pisa participated in the forum to comment on the innovative treatment method.
Ovarian cancer is an extremely dangerous type of cancer because no striking symptoms can be detected in the early phase. As a result, the disease is only discovered at the moment the tumour already has been spread within the body. At this stage, only surgery and the use of cell-killing treatment can possibly slow down the process of decay, and maybe cure the patient, according to Professor Vermorken.
In the past two years, however, the Antwerp oncologist has been testing two new drugs, the so-called taxans because they are derived from taxus plants. The positive results correspond with the findings of other researchers, who observed that the drugs extend the lives of women in a far advanced stage of the disease, with an average of one year.
The medication is not being administered intravenously, as Professor Vermorken explained. Instead, it is directly inserted in the abdomen of those patients who showed no signs of any tumour remainders after the operation. This new method has several advantages, since it causes less undesirable effects and largely improves the quality of the patient's life.