Dr. Ruis Reis, the executive and scientific director of the Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa (IEP) and the coordinator of the Centro de Pesquisa em Oncologia Molecular (CPOM) in the Hospital de Amor Barretos (SP), talks about the results attained by the institution in the field of oncology research with enthusiasm. With great sacrifice and, above all, love for the patients, they have surpassed the obstacles imposed by Brazil on those who are trying to find new cancer treatments.
“There’s no continuity with research projects in Brazil. There’s not even a culture of investment and donation in the country,” warns Dr. Ruis Reis.
For this reason, he calls attention to the work developed by the Hospital de Amor Barretos (SP). In July of 2018, the institute was ranked first place in the Scimago Institutions Rankings (SIR) among all the health centers involved in research in Latin America. In 2015, only three years prior, the hospital was ranked tenth place. SIR hopes to provide a useful measuring tool to entities, policymakers and research managers to analyze, evaluate and improve health centers’ activities, products and results.
According to Dr. Ruis Reis, the idea to build the Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa came about in 2008, in order to encourage post-graduate studies (composed of Master’s and Doctorate programs), medical residencies of health professionals, and to offer better conditions for the completion of research projects (as of now, they have 200 different projects in progress). The Hospital de Amor Barretos (SP) invests a yearly average of R$10 million in all areas of medical research and study. The IEP counts on the financial support of important national agencies such as FAPESP, CNPq, DECIT, CAPES, and international ones like NIH, the Bil & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Terry Fox Foundation.
“As of now, the department counts with over 30 researchers, eight of which dedicate themselves exclusively to research. Cancer doesn’t wait,” stresses Dr. Ruis Reis.
The Hospital Amor Barretos (SP) is also the first hospital in Brazil to offer immunotherapy to treat patients with metastatic cancer (for now, only melanoma and lung cancer) through the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS). The service is a result of the partnership between the pharmaceutical institute MSD, which produces the medication pembrolizumab (Keytruda) – in private practices, it is estimated that this medication costs about R$30 thousand a month.
Dr. Ruis Reis is immunotherapy enthusiast. According to him, this is something that can change the paradigms of treatments of advanced staged cancer.
“Our primary worry is with the life quality of oncology patients. Immunotherapy produces better side-effects than chemotherapy and increases considerably patients’ survival chances. Today, thanks to this arrangement, we can offer this treatment right away,” he concludes.