MYTH: The treatment offered by IDOI cures cancer, particularly in DIPG cases.
REALITY: The IDOIprogram for DIPG is compassionate in nature, so IDOI cannot guarantee a cure. Eachpatient responds differently to the treatment provided, but in most casesshrinking of tumor size has been observed, which generally translates into animprovement of neurological deterioration signs and symptoms.
As a result, most of its patients see improvement in quality of life and their survival rateimproves.
MYTH: Every DIPG case treated by IDOI sees favorable results immediately.
REALITY: Once the patient is accepted into the IDOI program, treatment begins almost immediately, which enables tangible results to be seen in most but not all cases within the first days or weeks after undergoing the initial procedure.
MYTH: The treatment offered by IDOI for DIPG cases produces no side effects whatsoever.
REALITY: Interventional oncology, like any other invasive procedure, can have some side effects, albeit minimal since it consists of a course of treatment considered nontoxic. Main side effects, however, are pain in puncture sites (groin and lumbar region), moderate and temporary fever (several hours), headache, mild vomiting, and lack of appetite.
MYTH: The Institute of Interventional Oncology does not have clinical research protocols.
REALITY: IDOI is a clinical institution that seeks to offer standard and compassionate treatments that can improve its patients’ survival and quality of life and continuously conducts research to perfect its procedures.
Additionally, course of treatment is completely customized and constantly assessed and tailored in order to yield the greatest benefits possible. As such, it cannot be categorized as a generic or standardized treatment.
MYTH: IDOI has not disclosed data supporting its treatment outcomes.
REALITY: The abstract “Super-Selective Intra-arterial and Intra-techal Chemotherapy in the Compassionate management of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma: 2-year experience from an institution in Mexico” was accepted in May 2018 in the framework of the XII Congress of Latin American Immunology (ALAI) and the XXIII Congress of the Mexican Immunology Society (SMI), substantiating the advances of 2 years of work in over 60 cases.
Currently, other research is in the process of being documented and will be published.
MYTH: Requests from international scientists to obtain more information about treatment for DIPG cases have been ignored by IDOI specialists.
REALITY: Factors, such as patients’ rights to privacy, the vast amount of international cases that the IDOI treats, and the few resources with which it operates -100 per cent focused on treatment- come into play, which complicate ideal data sharing by the Institute’s medical team.
However, IDOI has strengthened its research staff, which will allow specialists to share information in the form of abstracts with the medical community.
MYTH: IDOI only accepts international patients.
REALITY: IDOI analyses isolated and complex brain cancer cases with grim prognoses from various countries, including Mexico. As a result, the number of patients both from Monterrey and Mexico as a whole are represented and is proportional to the rest of the world.
MYTH: The IDOI medical team has refused to provide their treatment in other countries.
REALITY: Today, IDOI cares for patients who reside in over 10 countries spread over 4 continents. The distance and requirements needed for treatment make it impossible for doctors to be able to travel and be at patients’ bedside in person, as it would mean leaving many other patients without care. Therefore, the most practical solution is to concentrate them in Monterrey, Mexico, because of its excellent flight connections, magnificent hospital infrastructure, and its proximity to the United States.
MYTH: The drugs used by IDOI for intra-arterial chemotherapy are of dubious quality and/or origin.
REALITY: IDOI only uses products of the highest quality to ensure the best service available. All drugs used are Cofepris (Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk) and FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved. From the onset of the interventionist oncology program, the course of treatment has maintained a basic structure of chemotherapeutic drugs. However, IDOI constantly evaluates new medications, on the lookout for those that could deliver better results.
MYTH: IDOI doctors administer high doses of intra-arterial drugs in an effort to eradicate DIPG.
REALITY: IDOI’s signature method allows the delivery of a high concentration of drugs to a specific target site with low dosages of medication and as a result the amount of medicine is diluted in the body’s other organs, for minimal quantities compared to previous similar procedures only a few years ago. This way, substances are delivered to the cancerous tissue without exposing the whole body to the drugs’ effects.
MYTH: The only way to measure IDOI treatment effectiveness is by tracking the tumor with MRIs.
REALITY: Tumors’ response to IDOI treatment varies in each case. However, MRIs performed after each procedure have revealed a reduction in size in almost every instance; furthermore, the oncology community recognizes that the mere fact of halting a tumor’s growth represents a significant achievement. Another way of knowing if the treatment was effective is by seeing an improvement in the signs and symptoms of neurological deterioration in the patient.
MYTH: The Institute of Interventional Oncology constantly changes its medication provider.
REALITY: The strategic relationships entered in by IDOI -with its medication provider, for example- are fundamental. Because of this, it strives to maintain its current ties and to pursue new ones, in an ongoing quest for greater benefits for its patients.
MYTH: International patients at IDOI have trouble gaining access to or obtaining follow up from the Institute’s medical specialists. They are, however, forced to return on a monthly basis for treatments.
REALITY: A number of obstacles hinder frequent and ideal quality face-to-face communication between IDOI specialists and patients, such as international time zones, foreign languages, and doctors’ intense workload, not to mention the extraordinary attention demanded by each case.
However, IDOI’s team of specialists is always willing to work with patients’ doctors in their home country and takes care to maintain frequent e-mail contact with the patient’s family.
Regarding treatments’ frequency, its duration can vary depending on each patient’s response. Personalized treatment is administered every 3 weeks with a tolerance period of up to 5 weeks.
MYTH: IDOI specialists are against medical treatments involving radiation.
REALITY: Overall, IDOI’s medical team does not prescribe radiotherapy for its patients, but in those cases when this treatment is unavoidable it does so in a particular way, with the aim of its being the least aggressive as possible on the healthy brain tissue surrounding the tumor.
MYTH: Treatment offered by IDOI is exceedingly expensive.
REALITY: Treating a catastrophic illness like cancer is always costly, but once favorable results are achieved, the benefit is priceless. The treatment provided by IDOI involves medical facilities, drugs, and doctor’s fees, which are more affordable and flexible in Mexico compared to those available in other parts of the world. Additionally, IDOI has entered agreements with several hospitals and private clinics so that services provided are as affordable as possible.
MYTH: IDOI have treated DIPG patients for 20 years.
REALITY: Although the first activities and practices of what is now IDOI date from the early 90's, the Institute formally opened its doors in 2017. Two successful careers and two complementary experiences, one in Oncology and the other in Interventional Neuroradiology, joined to create IDOI in an effort to find new ways of using various techniques, procedures, and drugs to benefit patients with very specific conditions where the disease can be controlled, the quality of life improved, and the survival rate and/or odds of cancer remission increased.