Leukemia is the fifth most common cancer among Saudis


The Saudi Cancer Registry revealed that leukemia is the fifth most common type of cancer among Saudi adults, and the incidence of the disease is increasing, in part due to the aging population. While the average age of diagnosis is 70 years, increasing numbers are being recorded at a younger age within the Kingdom.

Improve results

Meanwhile, Janssen Pharmaceuticals companies announced the successful completion of a knowledge transfer program that improves outcomes for leukemia patients in Saudi Arabia. In cooperation with the National Guard Health Affairs, the initiative provides vital genetic tests for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), to ensure the provision of the most appropriate treatment, and improve diagnosis and results.

gene identification

Determining whether the gene for the immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (IGHV) is mutated is one of the most important details in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It is considered a marker of the overall survival rate, as well as a recognized factor in disease. In addition, it ensures identification of the gene mutation, planning and administration of the most appropriate treatment with the aim of improving patient outcomes. IGHV testing is mandatory under the international clinical guidelines for CLL, however identification of this vital evidence was not previously possible in the region.

Training of specialists

As part of the Knowledge Transfer Project, two pathologists were selected, by the Saudi Scientific Society for Blood Stem Cell Transplantation, to receive training in advanced next-generation sequencing technology in Switzerland, and then returned to Saudi Arabia with the necessary knowledge and skills, to train the rest of the colleagues and establish testing capabilities in The kingdom. The head of the Saudi Scientific Society for Blood Stem Cell Transplantation, Ahmed Al-Askar, said, “Identifying the mutation in the IGHV gene is the essence of treating this type of cancer, and without this information, doctors are often forced to treat the disease blindly, which may lead to the risk of treatment failure.

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