Asia News


Professional services firm Deloitte said it will provide education and skills training to 10 million girls and women in India with an aim to equip them to find a meaningful work.

The exercise will be carried out under its global initiative World-class, Deloitte said in a statement.

The initiative aims “to support 10 million girls and women by 2030 through education and skills development,” it said.

It said that globally, the World-class initiative seeks to prepare 50 million people to be better equipped for the future of work, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Deloitte’s World-class programme in India will focus on improving girls’ retention rate in school, higher educational outcomes, and skills development for women to access employment, it added.

Under the initiative, partnerships will be launched with organisations such as Katha and Pratham. These organisations are working to improve the learning outcomes of millions of children and young people in schools and communities across India.

Our goal with WorldClass is to empower 50 million people globally by 2030, by providing them access to the education and skills required to find meaningful work in the new economy,” Punit Renjen, Global CEO, Deloitte said.

The world is on the brink of a seismic shift with the emergence of the Industry 4.0 wave, and to thrive in it, “we must work together so that no one is left behind, he said.

Across India, he said, almost 40 per cent of girls aged 15-18 years drop out of school and college, and only 26 per cent of women are employed.

As one of the emerging economies on the world stage today, India’s demographic dividend forms an integral component of its growth story. The task of harnessing its power has to be fueled by the private sector,” a Deloitte India spokesperson said.

Source: Economic Times India

A NEW breast cancer drug shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer recurrence is being made available to women in Singapore from today via a Special Access Program.

The drug, NERLYNX (neratinib) is an oral medication taken by women with HER2+ breast cancer who have completed adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

NERLYNX has been shown to significantly reduce the ongoing risk of recurrence in HER2+ early breast cancer patients.1 The greatest benefit was observed in women who were also hormone-receptor positive (HR+) and treated within 12 months following completion of trastuzumab-based adjuvant therapy. Their five-year risk of recurrence or death was reduced by 42%. In these patients, invasive disease-free survival (iDFS) was 90.8% in the patients treated with neratinib, compared with 85.7% in those receiving placebo (hazard ratio = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.41−0.82; p = 0.002).

ST Asia Chief Executive Officer Mr. Carlo Montagner said a formal registration decision was not expected by Singapore’s HSA before 2020, although he noted that NERLYNX is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

“Data from the pivotal clinical trial tells us that the greatest benefit is seen in women who commence therapy as soon as possible after their adjuvant trastuzumab-based treatment has been completed,” he said.

“Therefore, it is critical that women in Singapore who have recently completed adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy or are about to complete adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy, are provided access now to NERLYNX while the registration process is underway.”

International breast cancer authority Professor Arlene Chan was the lead investigator and primary author in the pivotal Phase III trial of NERLYNX, ExteNET.2

Professor Chan said its availability in Singapore and other regions would be “a huge step forward” to further reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in local women diagnosed with HER2+ early breast cancer.

“Despite the clear proven benefit of standard of care chemotherapy and trastuzumab therapy, women diagnosed with early-stage HER2+ breast cancer are still at risk of disease recurrence,” Professor Chan said.

“This drug provides women with an opportunity to remain disease-free who may otherwise have had a recurrence.”

Singapore health data shows that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the country, accounting for almost 30% of all cancer cases. It is estimated that one in 15 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before age 75.3

NERLYNX is made available in Singapore by Specialised Therapeutics Asia, under exclusive license from Puma Biotechnology, Inc.


NERLYNX (neratinib) is an irreversible tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks signal transduction through the epidermal growth factor receptors, HER1, HER2 and HER4.4,5

NERLYNX is the first HER2-targeted medication approved by the FDA as extended adjuvant treatment for early-stage HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer, for patients who have previously been treated with trastuzumab following surgery (i.e., adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy).4 NERLYNX is also the first anti-HER2 treatment to be EC-approved as extended adjuvant therapy for early stage HR+ / HER2-positive breast cancer following adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.5

Extended adjuvant therapy is the next step of treatment that follows adjuvant therapy (treatment after surgery) to further reduce the risk of breast cancer returning.

NERLYNX is an oral tablet and works by binding to multiple receptors inside the cancer cell, blocking signals that tell cancer cells to grow and multiply.

About HER2+ Breast Cancer

Approximately 15−20% of breast cancer tumours over-express the HER2 protein. HER2+ breast cancer is often more aggressive than other types of breast cancer, increasing the risk of disease progression and death. Although research has shown that trastuzumab can reduce the risk of early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer returning after surgery, over 25% of patients treated with trastuzumab experience recurrence.6                                               

About the ExteNET Study,2, 7

The ExteNET trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase III trial of neratinib versus placebo after adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab in patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer.

The ExteNET trial randomized 2,840 patients in 41 countries with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer who had undergone surgery and adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab. After completion of adjuvant treatment with trastuzumab, patients were randomised to receive neratinib or placebo for a period of one year. Patients were then followed for recurrent disease, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or death for a period of five years after randomisation.

The primary endpoint of the trial was invasive disease free survival (iDFS). The trial demonstrated that after a median follow up of 5.2 years, treatment with neratinib resulted in a 27% reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo (hazard ratio = 0.73, p = 0.008). The 5-year iDFS rate for the neratinib arm was 90.2% and the 5-year iDFS rate for the placebo arm was 87.7%.7

An additional five-year sub-group analysis demonstrated a 42% risk reduction in women who were HR+ and who had commenced neratinib therapy within 12 months of completing treatment with trastuzumab.7

Puma is conducting a Phase II CONTROL study investigating various prophylactic anti-diarrhoeal regimens for the first 1-2 cycles of neratinib therapy. Emerging data suggest that prophylactic management reduces the incidence, severity and duration of neratinib-associated diarrhoea as compared with events observed in ExteNET.

About Specialised Therapeutics Asia

Headquartered in Singapore, Specialised Therapeutics Asia Pte Ltd (STA) is an international biopharmaceutical company established to commercialise new therapies and technologies to patients throughout South East Asia, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. STA and its regional affiliates collaborate with leading global pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies to bring novel, innovative and life-changing healthcare solutions to patients affected by a range of diseases. Its mission is to provide therapies where there is an unmet need. The company’s broad therapeutic portfolio currently includes novel agents in oncology, haematology, neurology, ophthalmology and supportive care.

Source: PR Newswire

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) wants the government to show firm commitment in enacting the Gender Equality Act in a bid to curb discrimination.

Its executive director, Sumitra Visvanathan, said such law was needed to ensure that women would be protected in every aspect of life.

“We actually have been advocating the act for quite a while with JAG (Joint Action Group for Gender Equality) to draft the act, but we now want to know what are the next steps and when will it happen as we want things to move forward as planned to see the legislation done.

“There are some indications saying that it will be done in 2020, yet there is nothing from the government for this until today,“ she told reporters after the launch of a report on the status of women’s human rights after 24 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) in Malaysia here today.

Meanwhile, International Women’s Right Action Watch Asia Pacific director Mary Shanthi Dairam said the government should define clearly what constitutes to discrimination before tabling any bills.

Mary, who is also the WAO executive council member, said current laws do not adequately prohibit gender discrimination in all fields.

“Constitutional guarantees of equality have been interpreted narrowly by the courts to not include the private sector.

“Hence, women in the private sector will continue to suffer in silence due to the delay in enacting the law,“ she said.

She said when women get discriminated at work, they have few or no options for redress at all.

“The act should not only prohibit gender discrimination, but also ensure that women who experience discrimination can easily get justice – without having to go through a lengthy, tiring, and costly process,“ she said.

The report, among others, highlighted critical issues in women’s human rights such as female circumcision, gender inequality in citizenship and discrimination against transgender women.

It was coordinated by WAO and JAG with input from 38 non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Mary said the report was something that the groups hope would help the government to see the gaps in gender equality.

“The report should not be seen as something that is finding fault with the government but rather as something that can help the government to identify where the gaps are, “she said.

Source: The Sun Daily

At the 17 June event, Student artists from Quezon City high schools show their painting skills on the roads leading to the main building of Quezon City Hall. Photo: UN Women/ Dominic Mananghaya

On a day celebrating the Philippine’s freedom from colonial rule, 65 high school students painted pictures on roads by Quezon City Hall to call for another kind of freedom—for women and girls to go about public spaces without fear of sexual harassment.

The Quezon City Local Government held the Street Art Painting Project on 17 June, Independence Day, in partnership with UN Women Safe Cities Metro Manila Programme. In bright, bold colors, the student artists painted the roads from the entrance to the main building of Quezon City Hall with words and images depicting the problem of harassment and calls for everyone to help build safe public spaces. “Stop Violence against Women,” was among the painted appeals.

“We are painting this road because we want women to be empowered not only in the Philippines but all over the world,” said Jade L. Lusterio, 15, student from Flora A. Ylagan High School.