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WCM-Q doctor joins cancer surgery.

Tribune News Network Doha A DOCTOR at Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar (WCM-Q) wants to bring an innovative form of surgery for ovarian cancer to Qatar in the hope of improving survival rates among women. Dr Arash Rafii Tabrizi, professor of genetic medicine in obstetrics and gynaecology at WCM-Q, recently took part in a new surgical protocol in France that has only been in use for a few months. Doctors believe that it may improve the survival rate of patients with ovarian cancer. Dr Tabrizi would like to work with local stakeholders to set up an innovative programme for advanced ovarian cancer management and introduce the new personalised medicine approach in Qatar. Dr Tabrizi explained that ovarian cancer is the deadliest form of gynaecological cancer, with patients who are diagnosed when the disease at an advanced stage only likely to live for three or four years, compared with the 80-90 percent survival rate of breast cancer patients. The reason that the prognosis for ovarian cancer is so poor is that it develops in the abdomen. Currently, the standard treatment is surgery to remove all tumors, followed by intravenous chemotherapy, but recurrence of the disease is common. Dr Tabrizi said:"Most patients will experience a recurrence of the disease within three years following the operation and will then require additional chemotherapy and sometimes surgery. Because of the high prevalence of relapse, it adds credence to the theory that the peritoneum - the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs provides cancer cells with a refuge in which they are protected from the chemotherapy drugs. "For the last 10 years, my laboratory, supported by Qatar Foundation through both the biomedical research programme and the Qatar National Research Fund, has examined the relationship between the peritoneum and cancer cells. We have identified that the peritoneum cells become activated during surgery and this reaction is hijacked by the cancer cells to evade the chemotherapy drugs. So, we have to disrupt this relationship to improve the chances of destroying the disease." Dr Tabrizi explained that in 2004 he became involved with the concept of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) in advanced ovarian cancer. This involves heating the chemotherapy drugs and then applying them directly to the abdominal cavity rather than giving them intravenously. The heat provides a shock to the cancer cells which leads to cell death, and applying the chemotherapy directly to the abdomen allows it to be delivered in a higher concentration than delivering it intravenously. The new protocol has now been in use for a few months, and Dr Tabrizi took part in his first operation using it at the University Hospital Foch which is north of Paris. "My ambition now is to work with local stakeholders and bring the procedure to Qatar. So far, this procedure has only been carried out in a few countries, but given the severity of ovarian cancer we need to offer patients every chance possible of increasing their lifespan or even beating it altogether," Dr Tabrizi added.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Nov 19, 2018
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