María Victoria Mateos, best myeloma researcher in the world: “We are talking about curing blood cancer, unthinkable 20 years ago” | Health & Wellness

Research against blood cancer has in Salamanca the doctor recognized as the best world specialist in the search for treatments and cures for myeloma, as this condition is known in the health field. María Victoria Mateos, a 52-year-old doctor from the Salamanca University Assistance Complex, has been awarded as the best clinical researcher in myeloma in the world, an award granted in Los Angeles (United States) by the International Myeloma Society during its annual meeting. The winner of the recognition, still overwhelmed by the honor that it implies, she also chairs the Spanish Society of Hematology and Hemotherapy and directs innovative therapies at the Salamanca hospital.

The doctor avoids attributing the award to herself and asks for recognition for the hospital’s human team and its patient care service, a “work of the Spanish group” that has received this international accolade. Mateos points out that the condition that she has been studying since 2000, when she finished her training and was preparing her doctoral thesis, consists of a blood cancer that is the second most frequent disease, in haemotological matters, after lymphoma. This ailment is being successfully treated thanks to the advances of which the charro specialist is proud: “About 20 years ago there was hardly any treatment and in a short time it became fatal in need, in recent years the disease has been known and discover new drugs. The doctor insists that pharmaceutical evolution has allied itself with the research of the Spanish group in which she participates to create “innovative and beneficial combinations for patients, there is realistic talk of curing patients with myeloma, impossible for a long time ” .

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Considered the best global researcher on myeloma, she states that, after enrolling in Medicine in her city, Salamanca, she studied and focused on the specialty of hematology before starting a thesis on this blood cancer. The century began and while she was increasing knowledge and pages of her thesis, the laboratories discovered useful drugs for this issue and some tests that allowed her to do “clinical research” on which she has based her subsequent professional and health development. . Mateos points out that these advances have resulted in more and more patients being diagnosed with myeloma. This means, he details, that in his consultation there are accumulated people who had this condition detected a long time ago and who have managed to resist it for a much longer period than would be possible not so many years ago thanks to the evolution of drugs and research to the which alludes so much. “It is positive because there are new and old patients, so we appreciate that what we do is valuable, we are offering quality of life and quantity of life”, celebrates the health worker, who praises the new immunotherapy strategies and those innovative treatments that act against cells of the tumor without the user’s body suffering, because “they are very well tolerated”.

The disease on which she has specialized, maintains the woman from Salamanca, has a “constant incidence” of about four cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year and is detected in about 2,000 cases per year. Early diagnoses are making it possible to verify “premalignant situations on the rise”, since these routine analyzes become essential to tackle this cancer and that a monitoring program can be entered to guarantee good care for users. Mateos insists that the arrival of effective treatments requires more budgets, for which he makes an appeal in which the private sector receives specific weight through patronage: “The International Myeloma Society has an American foundation that donates millions of euros annually dedicated to research grants.

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The international experience of this doctor allows her to ensure that “the pandemic has shown that we have very good healthcare when the public system is compared with other countries, we are lucky.” She, on her international trips, is asked if these treatments that are dispensed to those affected are free, regardless of the recipient’s social or economic status, something that she answers affirmatively to the surprise of the interlocutor. “There is more and more innovation in cancer and in all diseases, it costs a lot of money and agreements must be established with pharmaceutical companies so that this great advantage of our health system is not lost,” warns Dr. Mateos, who believes that Spanish Health it can ally itself with the pharmaceutical companies to maintain that gratuitousness from which the citizenry benefits.

The main challenge facing the health sector, says Mateos, lies in the “delay” with which drugs discovered by laboratories or researchers reach users. The pandemic, she admits, has slowed down these processes, but now that the coronavirus has subsided, she calls for the speeding up of these procedures, which thousands of patients benefit from. The prize that she has obtained, she assures her, should also serve to recognize equality in women’s access to research. “Many times we ourselves have to encourage other women to investigate and not put it in the background, it is a worthwhile sacrifice and women can generate a lot of knowledge,” says the doctor, who thus encourages all women “incorporated into medicine”, a reality that he appreciates both in the faculties and in the hospitals where he has worked in search of reducing the danger of myeloma.

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