Initiated in 2006 by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), World Cancer Day takes place each year on February 4th. Its primary purpose is to raise public awareness about the prevention, research and treatment of cancer. In a short interview, Chief Pharma Expert Dr. Johannes Rauschnabel explains how the disease and its treatment have changed in recent years, and what Bosch contributes to the treatment of cancer patients.
Dr. Rauschnabel, how would you classify cancer today?
Cancer rates are rising globally, partially due to the increasing age in industrial countries. Cancer cells arise from changes in DNA fragments when the body can no longer rebalance these genetic mutations. The older humans become, the less reliable the genetic repair system works. At the same time, cancer also affects young people. Yet despite many dramatic cases of illness, cancer should no longer be perceived as the most fatal disease. Nowadays, some forms of cancer can be controlled quite effectively. This, in turn, means that it is evolving into a chronic condition more and more frequently, forcing patients to take high-class drugs permanently.
What types of therapy are currently being used for the treatment of cancer?
The classic triad of medical treatment, radiation therapy and surgery is a proven and successful procedure for most cases. While radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to completely inactivate or at least push back the tumor, cytostatic drugs are applied in chemotherapy to purposefully inhibit cell growth. The decision for or against a certain treatment depends on the type of cancer and the patient’s profile. In the industrial world, the standard regimen is additionally combined with targeted and expensive medicines that address patient-specific dysregulation, whereas in emerging countries the focus is on chemotherapy with standard medication.
How does Packaging Technology contribute to the treatment of cancer patients?
Infusion is the most important dosage form in cancer treatment. We manufacture filling lines, which are often combined with isolator systems for processing highly potent drugs. This offers maximum operator protection during the manufacturing process while ensuring the best possible quality of the medicine. Some cytostatic drugs are also administered orally as tablets and capsules. These can be processed on our capsule filling machines and tablet presses. Source materials and aggregates are mixed, granulated and coated on equipment provided by our subsidiary Hüttlin. While industrial countries have an increasing demand for high-quality equipment designed to enable small batch production, the emerging markets require robust equipment with medium output. By carefully analyzing the exact needs of patients and pharmacists at an early development stage, our equipment portfolio offers suitable machines and lines for all requirements.