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Philippines: Cheaper Pediatric Cancer Drugs Raise Child Survival Rates
By IRIN March 30, 2012 An NGO-government partnership in the Philippines has improved access to treatment for pediatric cancer, a leading cause of death in children aged 1-14, according to the Department of Health. AsianScientist (Mar. 30, 2012) – An NGO-government partnership in the Philippines has improved access to treatment for pediatric cancer, a leading cause of death in children aged 1-14, according to the Department of Health (DOH). ―The first results suggest that our program has raised the survival rate for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from 20 to 50 percent. To achieve this, we addressed two issues: the high price of medicines in the country, and unaffordable out-of-pocket payments for families,‖ Pia Cayetano, a parliamentarian, told IRIN in the capital region of Metro Manila. There are 3,500 cancer cases in children younger than 15 each year in the Philippines, and around half of them are ALL, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, according to the Manila-based NGO Cancer Warriors Foundation, Inc. (CWFI). Nationwide, eight of every 10 children with pediatric cancer died in 2008 (a total of 2,800 deaths). ―The first obstacle to saving more children from ALL in the Philippines was the prices of drugs – among the highest in Asia,‖ said Carmen Vallejo Auste, co-founder of CWFI. Management Sciences for Health, an NGO based in Boston in the United States, studied the prices paid for 42 essential cancer medicines in 2010 by the governments of low- and middle-income countries. For ten of the medicines, some governments paid as much as ten times more than others did, while for 23 more drugs some governments paid double the price compared to others. The wide price variations were caused preferential deals offered by drug companies to buyers who were able to negotiate lower prices. The Philippines is in a region that has some of the world’s highest of out -of-pocket costs to patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2009, the government passed a law that put a price ceiling on 21 of the essential medicines on the WHO list of these drugs. The government also successfully negotiated with drug companies, bringing down by 50-75 percent the prices of nine pediatric chemotherapy drugs used to treat ALL, and the savings were passed on to patients. According to the DOH, 14 public hospitals have provided these medications at no cost to children with ALL since 2009. ―CWFI’s role was to collect and disseminate information about health issues, to instigate negotiation between all the actors of the health sector, and to provide limited financial support,‖ said Auste. Childhood cancers are relatively rare, representing ar ound three percent of all cancers in the country’s general population, but they are among the top three killers of children aged 5-14. Worldwide, every year there are 175,000 new childhood cancer cases in youngsters under the age of 15, and 96,000 deaths, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Childhood cancers are often very different from those seen in adults, and the NCI says the causes are largely unknown. What is known is their burden on the often overstretched health care systems of developing countries, where some 55 percent of 12.7 million new cancer cases and 64 percent of 7.6 million cancer deaths

—— Source: IRIN. Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries. . according to the Harvard-based initiative.occurred in 2008. Photo: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN. Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Asian Scientist or its staff.

The combined impact of the two exposures was even greater among the 27% of children with a common mutation in the GSTM gene. "Allergy to cockroach is one of the greatest risk factors for asthma in low-income urban communities." says senior author Rachel Miller. "Our findings indicate a complex relationship between allergen and air pollution exposures early in life and a possible underlying genetic susceptibility." _____________ The growing population. At ages 5 and 7. suggests that PAH enhances the immune response to cockroach allergen. Presence of the GSTM1 mutation was determined through blood samples. Presence of higher levels of cockroach allergen led cockroach allergy only in children whose mothers also had been exposed to higher levels of PAH during pregnancy. and the growing pile of garbages largely contributes to the growing population of insects or vectors carrying diseases and putting people especially children at risk for diseases and healthy children developing new diseases because of strong strains of bacteria these microorganisms develop as well. Perzanowski and his co-investigators looked at 349 mother-child pairs from the Center's Mothers & Newborns study of environmental exposures in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.1:00 PST An allergic reaction to cockroaches is a major contributor to asthma in urban children. Very early exposure to certain components of air pollution can increase the risk of developing a cockroach allergy by age 7 and children with a common mutation in a gene called GSTM may be especially vulnerable. which. had cockroach allergy. Combined. but new research suggests that the insects are just one part of a more complex story." says lead author Matthew Perzanowski. PhD. 82 of 264 children tested.an immune marker of allergy. Researchers also sampled air to measure the mother's exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The study suggests that minimizing exposure to PAH during pregnancy and to cockroach allergen during early childhood could be helpful in preventing cockroach allergies and asthma in urban children. or PAH (combustion products that are harmful components of air pollution). or 31%. This mutation is suspected to alter the ability of the body to detoxify PAHs. these findings suggest that exposures in the home environment as early as the prenatal period can lead to some children being at much greater risk for developing an allergy to cockroach. "Asthma among many urban populations in the United States continues to rise. exposure to cockroach allergen (protein in feces. the first on this interplay of risk factors. The researchers found that 279 or 80% of homes tested positive for high levels of cockroach allergen. By age 7.Asthma-Related Cockroach Allergy In Children Likely Primed By Air Pollution Article Date: 07 Feb 2013 . MD. Technology made products has . the children had blood tests to identify the presence of IgE antibodies . This result. Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health published the findings. in turn. During the mother's pregnancy. in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. heightens their risk of developing asthma." Dr. saliva or other remnants of the insects) was measured by collecting dust from the kitchen and bed. "Identifying these complex associations and acting upon them through better medical surveillance and more appropriate public policy may be very important in curtailing this alarming trend. the authors say.