Japan’s first clinical trials for “Near Infrared Photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT),” a therapy which treats cancer by using a type of light called “near-infrared radiation,” have begun by March 14 at National Cancer Center Hospital East, in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture. The method was developed by a group of researchers led by Hisataka Kobayashi, senior investigator at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). A U.S.-based biotech startup is conducting the trials with the aim of receiving approval for commercialization within a few years after confirming the safety of the therapy in treating patients with head and neck cancers.
Dr. Kobayashi says, “Clinical trials started in Japan earlier than I expected. The method has few side effects and is expected to show great efficacy.” (Abridged)