Japan launches Southeast Asian cancer research project to improve treatment, access

By Phan Anh   September 9, 2020 | 02:45 am PT
Japan launches Southeast Asian cancer research project to improve treatment, access
A breast cancer patient undergoes medical procedures at Hanoi's Bach Mai Hospital. Photo by VnExpress/Mai Thanh.
The National Cancer Center Japan (NCCJ) has launched a cooperative project with Vietnam and four other Southeast Asian countries to develop cancer drugs, therapies and improve treatment access.

The recently launched project, named Atlas, would see Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines develop therapies to treat rare forms of cancer, as well as improve access to cancer treatment across the countries, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Several countries in Southeast Asia still lack the necessary medical resources to treat large numbers of cancer patients as populations grow and economies develop, according to the center.

By expanding clinical trials in other countries and sharing relevant data, the project could help hasten the development of new drugs capable of treating cancer patients. Japan would share its experience in the field through training and research programs too.

"We want to establish a development framework for drugs and promote cancer genomic medicines in Asia, catching up with Europe and the United States," said Kenichi Nakamura, chief of the Research Management Division at the center's hospital.

Around 165,000 people contract cancer every year in Vietnam, of which nearly 115,000 die from the disease, according to a 2018 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Liver cancer is the most common among men in Vietnam, followed by lung, stomach and colorectal cancers. Among women, breast, stomach and lung cancers top the list.

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