Uganda Welcomes New Brain Cancer Vaccine

Uganda Welcomes New Brain Cancer Vaccine (News Central TV)

The newly created brain vaccine has been hailed by the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI).

The vaccination offers hope to those who have been diagnosed with brain cancer since it genetically modifies cancer cells to make them cancer-killing agents. The vaccinations also prevent the illness from returning.

“This is a hot research area with the potential for being used in the future. We will be keen to be part of this ground-breaking work,” Dr Jackson Orem, the executive director at UCI, told reporters on Sunday.

The novel cancer-killing vaccination was tested by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, in an advanced mouse model of the lethal brain tumour glioblastoma.

To create a treatment that kills tumor cells and activates the immune system to both eradicate primary tumors and prevent cancer, the researchers used genetic engineering to repurpose cancer cells.

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Uganda has not yet used a vaccination to treat brain cancer, according to Dr. Fred Okuku, a consultant at UCI. Instead, the country does surgery to remove the tumor and utilises radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Dr. Fred Okuku

“The primary treatment for brain cancer is surgery to remove the tumour from the brain. When it’s impossible to remove the tumour, then we employ a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. If it becomes impossible to remove it, then the cure becomes impossible,” Dr Okuku said.

He added: “We have not yet employed vaccine treatments in Uganda but we do have modern radiation machines that target tumours in the brain.

Dr. Noleb Mugisha, an oncologist at UCI, listed a number of signs of brain cancer, including weakness in the body and severe headaches that don’t go away despite taking medications.

“When someone presents these symptoms, usually, we do a brain CT scan or MRI if it tells us that there is swelling in the brain, then we suspect cancer or brain tumour,” Dr Mugisha said.

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He stated brain cancer is not widespread in Uganda but is typically frequent among young persons between the ages of 20 and 30 but can even manifest in those who are 45, however he withheld the country’s most recent statistics on the disease.

Dr. Noleb Mugisha believes that environmental change, where the air has become dirtier and includes more cancer-causing toxins, is the primary cause of malignancies. He claimed that the danger of the disease is increased by the usage of pesticides and herbicides, among other things.

“Lifestyle has also changed, many more people now are less active than our ancestors, also the food we are eating is more sugary, more carbohydrates than greens and vegetables that people ate in the old days which puts us more at risk,” Dr Mugisha said. According to specialists at Mulago,  the fee for treatment entirely depends on the type of tumour one has.  In Kenya, it costs about $10,000 (Shs37m)  while in India, $15,000 (Shs56m) and at Mulago hospital in the general ward, it is free.

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