Leukemia, also known as blood cancer, is a vicious disease originating from stem cells. The disease occurs in about four in 100,000 people, with approximately 40,000 new patients every year in China.
According to Li Yuhua, director of the hematology department at Zhujiang Hospital affiliated with Southern Medical University, the therapeutic vaccine is for patients who possess tumors. Chemotherapy helps most leukemia patients, but the best method to prevent relapse is transplantation. However, transplant surgeries are very expensive, and chemotherapy is the only choice for patients who have relapsed after receiving a transplant.
The vaccine was mainly developed for low to mid-risk leukemia patients, such as those who can't withstand chemotherapy and those still in need of relief after receiving chemotherapy. Compared with transplants, which can cost hundreds of thousands of RMB for one treatment course, the vaccine offers a cost-effective choice.
Though the vaccine can reduce the length of chemotherapy, Li emphasized that chemotherapy is still the primary treatment for leukemia. Li told the Southern Daily that clinical tests of the vaccine will be carried out simultaneously in seven hospitals this year. It is expected to improve the five-year survival rate of leukemia patients by 10 to 20 percent, which means that 10 to 20 percent more patients will be able to fully recover.
This article was originally published by Huanqiu, on the Global Times.