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New Japan institute to focus on photoimmunotherapy for cancer

  • April 20, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 10:16 p.m.
  • English Press

Hirakata, Osaka Pref., April 20 (Jiji Press)–Kansai Medical University has established a new center for research on photoimmunotherapy, which is called “the fifth treatment for cancer.”

 

The research center in the western Japan city of Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, is headed by Prof. Hisataka Kobayashi, who developed the treatment method.

 

“We aim to be able to treat 80 pct of cancer cases with the method in 10 years,” Kobayashi told a press conference Wednesday. “We will advance our research towards the goal of making many patients happy.”

 

The roughly 30-member center, which includes departments on the development of treatment equipment, on immunology research and on pathology, will cover a wide range of activities, from basic research to support for clinical trials.

 

In photoimmunotherapy, patients are administered an antibody drug that binds with cancer cells. Laser beams are applied to patients the following day, destroying only the cells.

 

The treatment has few side effects and is also expected to boost immune response.

 

In 2020, Japan was the first in the world to approve the treatment, though limiting it to patients whose head and neck cancers have relapsed. The number of hospitals where the treatment is available has since expanded to about 60.

 

Clinical trials are underway to test the method for the treatment of stomach, esophageal and other cancers.

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