Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Switzerland’s Roche have announced a partnership to redefine the diagnosis and treatment of cancer care in the Middle East and North Africa.
The partnership seeks to remove barriers to biomarker testing and expand access to precision medicines to improve patient outcomes in a region where cancer is expected to double by 2030. 
Cancer occurs due to genetic mutations that affect the way cells work and grow. Each person’s cancer is unique because mutations differ in type and number and between cancer types. Even people with the same type of cancer may require different treatment. 
Biomarker testing is a type of molecular or genetic testing that tracks changes in genes, proteins and other substances that provide critical information about tumors. This helps to track the evolution of tumors in cancer patients, enabling more targeted therapies and better chances of survival. 
Cancer patients can be tested at the time of diagnosis, recurrence, or progression. It allows healthcare practitioners to develop personalized treatment plans for patients; including targeted therapies and immunotherapies that are most appropriate for their specific cancer.
Through this personalised approach, healthcare practitioners can get the right medicine to patients at the right time, treating them more effectively and minimizing side effects.
 “We have the opportunity to reverse the upward trajectory of cancer rates in the Middle East and North Africa by the harnessing breakthrough technologies of precision medicine such as biomarker testing. Through this partnership with Roche, we hope to support biomarker testing across different tumor types and cancer stages, starting with lung cancer. Our ambition is for patients to have access to timely, accurate information about the genetic mutations causing their specific cancer,” said Pelin Incesu, Area Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, AstraZeneca.
 “The increasing incidence of cancer in the Middle East gives new meaning to the importance of collaboration. We are proud to partner with AstraZeneca to continue redefining and strengthening the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the region by leveraging the power of breakthrough technologies, like biomarker testing and personalized treatment plans, and ensuring all patients have access to the care they need and deserve. Together, we can help countless men, women, and children lead strong and healthy lives, not defined by cancer but by the endless possibilities they have ahead,” said Olfat Berro, Area Head Middle East, Roche Pharmaceuticals.
The partnership focuses on the education and upskilling of health practitioners as well as raising public awareness. The first regional activity will be held on 7 September 2022 focused on lung cancer. The workshop will bring together pathologists, interventional radiologists, interventional pulmonologists, and thoracic surgeons. It aims to enhance laboratory tissue handling, improve molecular profiling, and support healthcare practitioners in identifying more patients who can benefit from targeted treatments.
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