Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. Based on data released by the Global Burden of Cancer Study (Globocan) from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of cancer cases in Indonesia in 2020 reached a total of 396,914 cases and 234,511 cases of deaths. Out of this figure, breast cancer has the highest number, 65,858 cases or 16.6%, followed by cervical cancer, rank second with 36,633 cases or 9.2% of the total cancer cases.

Such high number of cancer cases in Indonesia needs serious attention from the stakeholders, especially the sufferers. In their day-to-day’s life, they experience excruciating pain when the cancer has metastasized to the bone.

Metastasis is the spreading process of cancer cells from one organ or body tissue to another. This condition can occur anywhere, either in the area where the cancer originates or far from where the cancer started.

Now, cancer survivors can breathe easy, because the pain they have been enduring can be reduced by taking Samarium (Sm) 153 EDTMP. Samarium is a radiopharmaceutical, result of innovation in the field of nuclear medicine produced by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) through the Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN).

Acting Head of the Research Center for Radioisotope and Radiopharmaceutical Technology (PRTRR), Rohadi Awaludin said 153 ETDMP Samarium is a research product which is very useful in the health world, especially as a palliative therapy drug or pain reliever for cancer patients. “To reduce pain conventionally, they usually use analgesic drugs or pain relievers such as morphine. However, the pain does not last long, whereas if you use Sm 153 EDTMP it can last for 1-2 months,” said Rohadi, Friday (04/02).

Another advantage, added Rohadi, is that this product will not cause addiction and reduces the quality of life, as the case when using morphine. So, taking this Sm 153 EDTMP, the cancer sufferers can function normally and they will not feel pain. This product will not interfere with their daily activities and certainly will not reduce their quality of life.

To meet the domestic needs for radiopharmaceuticals, Rohadi explained, his organization will continue to carry out research and development activities to improve the mastery of nuclear technology, especially in producing radiopharmaceuticals. Through PT. Kimia Farma, these products have been marketed to several hospitals for use by the wider community.

“Besides Sm 153 EDTMP, PRTRR also produces MIBI radiopharmaceutical kit which is used to detect heart function, MDP radiopharmaceutical kit to detect primary bone cancer and bone metastases, and DTPA radiopharmaceutical kit to determine kidney function, and MIBG marked I-131 for neuroblastoma cancer therapy,” he added.

Production of these radiopharmaceuticals, said Rohadi, encountered several obstacles. This product has radioactive properties that has short half-life. As a result, the product must be used immediately after production and not stored for a long time.

“For this reason, it is necessary to have a very careful production planning by taking into account fast transportation facilities, especially for areas outside Jakarta. Presently, production of radiopharmaceuticals is carried out in Jakarta,” he explained.

To ensure that these radiopharmaceutical products can be used by those who need them, Rohadi hopes that nuclear medicine facilities in Indonesia will be expanded, considering that there are only 14 nuclear medicine facilities. Some of them however are still facing operational constraints, namely human resources (HR) and equipment.

“We hope that the Ministry of Health will pay more attention to the condition of nuclear medicine facilities, especially in developing human resources and equipment. There has been an idea that some hospitals will be used as oncology centers,” he concluded. (pur)