Innovation and creativity are the cornerstones of medical development and patient care. No field of medicine attracts more research and innovation than oncology. Cancer research, new therapies, treatment delivery systems, and patient care are attracting more focus across the world. This can be justified by the fact that cancer is among the leading global causes of morbidity and mortality. By 2018, it was estimated that about 18.1 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed and over 9.6 million people died of the disease.The fact that cancer is not one single disease but over 200 different diseases, also provides scope for much research and innovation. In India, some of the top hospitals are known for their exemplary patient care and for their innovative treatment methodologies.
- Immuno-oncology or cancer immunotherapy and its applications are believed to have the greatest potential and hence attract a great deal of research and funding. Some of the best oncology hospitals in India such as CARE Hospitals are increasingly looking towards immune-oncology to treat cancer. Apart from traditional therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, immunotherapy helps in blocking the growth of tumour cells by stimulating body’s natural immune system to inhibiting the pathways in the microenvironment of the cancer. The greatest benefit of using this system of therapy is that it leaves no toxicity and also helps prevent long term recurrence.
- Data sharing and virtual clinical trials are in vogue now. The advancement of technology and tele-medicine initiatives in many countries of the world has prompted the best medical oncologists in Hyderabad and other major cities of the country to come together and share data, learnings, and treatment methodologies using online applications. This means that clinical settings can be simulated across geographies and clinical trials can be conducted in various locations. This holds great promise for patients who are looking forward to be treated by the best oncologists of the country without having to travel.
- Use of AI powered technologies in prevention, early detection, and diagnosis of cancer is another innovation to look out for. For some time now doctors have been harnessing artificial intelligence powered technologies to detect and diagnose ailments. Oncologists across the country are now looking forward to bringing in AI into detection of microtumours and early diagnosis of cancer by corelating various test results. This technology, however, is far from perfect in its current stage of development. This means that with improvement in data and analysis, it may be something to look out for in the times to come.
- Many hospitals in India and abroad are now taking to a multi-disciplinary approach towards cancer treatment. This means that every patient will be evaluated and treated by not just an individual doctor but a team of leading doctors who are experts in various medical specialities. Such an approach shall not only optimise patient care but shall also reduce risk of complications and eliminate the harm caused by traditional therapies to a great extent.
Oncology and cancer care is much more than just understanding of the disease and the medical therapy. It has a lot to do with understanding the various physical, mental, and emotional effects of the disease on the patients and to come up with the best possible approach towards patient care. Innovation is the need of the hour in the field of oncology and much can be expected in the years to come.