SOURCE: ALIVIA

ALIVIA

December 19, 2016 10:29 ET

ALIVIA announces new ambassador Mo Haque who crowdfunded for immunotherapy cancer treatment and campaigns for more cancer treatment options

Following AA Gill's recent death after being denied access to life-extending immunotherapy

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - December 19, 2016) - ALIVIA, a Swiss-founded Health Management Service that is revolutionising the status quo of how society deals with healthcare, announces its new ambassador Mo Haque -- a 33 year old Student Union worker who, after being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, raised over £100,000 through crowdfunding to access life-extending immunotherapy treatment via his page https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/keepinghope.

Haque actively supports ALIVIA's message that personalised healthcare is the only way to effectively treat diseases like cancer and many lives could be extended and deaths could be avoided by obtaining a second opinion. He has been sharing his remarkable story across the country to help raise awareness of the options available to cancer patients.

Having worked at Kingston University mentoring thousands of students, Haque was diagnosed in December 2014 and a year later, after 18 cycles of chemotherapy and major surgery, he was told the chemotherapy was not working and there was nothing the NHS could do for him.

A second opinion informed Haque that breakthrough immunotherapy treatment could offer him hope. A similar story to the late AA Gill's recent cancer plight, but unfortunately, both Haque and Gill learned that the NHS would not pay for the treatment, which costs around £6,500 every three weeks.

Needing £200,000 to save his life, Haque began a crowdfunding campaign with the support of his friends and family. The love and support for him was overwhelming, as he visited mosques, community events, and made TV appeals, #TeamMo as he calls it, raised over £100,000 within a couple of months allowing immunotherapy treatment to begin. ALIVIA have been monitoring his progress as treatment continues.

Mo Haque says "I was devastated to learn from the NHS, that after receiving generic treatment, I had run out of options. Only after seeking a second opinion did I find out that immunotherapy could actually extend my life and treat my cancer effectively. This is why I am proud to support ALIVIA's message that patients should always seek a second opinion and that personalised treatment for diseases like cancer is the only way. I want to spread awareness that cancer patients have more options than they realise and I would like to see our access to cancer treatment revolutionised and more lives saved. The cost of the treatment was so high, that I had to use my ideas and resources to access it, and I'm very grateful for every penny raised to support me. I am also grateful everyday to be alive and hearing the news of AA Gill's recent passing, and of others denied immunotherapy on the NHS, reinforces how fortunate I am to still be here to share my story."

Richard Kensett, ALIVIA's UK Managing Director said "With the sad passing of AA Gill and the incredible story of Mo Haque, awareness is spreading of the effectiveness, yet relative inaccessibility of immunotherapy treatment for cancer patients, as well as the often ineffectiveness of more generic, heavily prescribed cancer treatments. We at Alivia can prove that second opinions and personalised diagnostic tests before deciding on a treatment plan can extend lives. So we are proud to support and champion Mo's campaign to create real change in this country's approach to UK healthcare through thorough exploration of medical options for all patients."

Pembrolizumab is described as one of the most promising new immunotherapy drugs being used to treat cancer and is believed to have helped former US president Jimmy Carter to beat brain cancer last year. Unlike chemotherapy, it does not kill cancer cells directly, but boosts the immune system to do the job. However, the drug is only currently approved in the NHS as a treatment only for advanced melanoma skin cancer. More than 70 per cent of skin cancer patients were still alive a year after starting to receive it.

Similar to other types of cancer treatments, however, immunotherapy is not a "one size fits all." Alivia advises all its cancer clients to use personalised diagnostic tests, including molecular profiling, to retrieve clinically actionable treatment information to determine if immunotherapy drugs are appropriate.

Note to editors:

Alivia Swiss Health is a unique, new disruptive startup in the healthcare sector -- an external advisory service that provides a tailored offering through its robust and impartial interrogation of medical options and provision of truly independent medical intelligence on a global scale. ALIVIA is an industry first.

Unlike private medical insurance, ALIVIA is not bound by a set network, meaning medical intelligence is the deciding factor behind which physician and treatment is recommended -- not quotas or contracts.

Founded in Zurich in 2010 by a group of pioneering entrepreneurs, ALIVIA is the vision of Dr Vidar Arnulf, a board-certified anaesthesiologist from Norway with more than 30 years of leadership experience in the healthcare industry. This revolutionary group of medical and business minds share a passion and vision to optimise and sustain health, while extending lives.

With an extensive in house research team -- the Medical Intelligence Unit -- which is made up of doctors, radiologists, PHDs and other researchers based around the world, ALIVIA diligently analyses the medical files of each individual patient to verify the initial diagnosis, before researching the global market to identify the exact specialist who is best placed to handle each individual case and the most advanced research and treatment options available.

Having collected anecdotal evidence from its global team of medical professionals, ALIVIA revealed some surprising insights into patient behaviours.

  • Once diagnosed with an illness, the majority of patients in the UK fail to thoroughly interrogate their medical options according to their individual requirements - which is surprising for a society that is increasingly savvy about the many preventative medicines, treatments and lifestyle choices that can encourage and promote a healthier lifestyle both now and in later life.
  • We generally tend to spend more time researching the best car or household appliances to purchase, than investigating the doctors or hospitals we entrust with our lives.
  • Patients feel under-served by private medical insurance, which offer medical options within only a finite network, options that are not necessarily the best or most suitable option for the individual patient's needs.

Alivia Swiss Health is the UK's only personalised health management service that offers completely objective and independent advice and assistance, with access to the world's most advanced medical practitioners and cutting-edge medical intelligence, offering patients a trusted partner at a time when they need it most.

For more information about the services available through Alivia Swiss Health visit www.alivia.com

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