University wraps up cancer treatment trial

University wraps up cancer treatment trial

Additional tests need to be scaled up

Researchers at Chulalongkorn University said it has successfully concluded a trial to determine the effectiveness of immunotherapy in treating cancer patients.

The director of Chulalongkorn Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Virote Sriuranpong, said researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, along with partners which include the Thai Red Cross Society, have concluded a trial in which cancer patients were treated with their own antibodies.

The trial, Dr Virote said, which involved three patients with melanoma and one with kidney cancer, concluded with satisfactory results, with none of the participants reporting severe side effects after the treatment, except localised muscle pain at the injection site.

"While this is a significant step toward finding a cure for cancer, larger-scale trials would still have to be carried out," he said. "If successful, this could be an alternative treatment for cancer in the future."

In the trial, cancerous tissues from the study's participants were extracted so researchers could identify the exact mutation which caused them to change. These cells, according to the research team, would form the basis of the antibody treatment, which is unique to each patient.

Dr Virote said it took about two months to create the personalised treatment, adding a full course of treatment consists of seven doses.

However, more studies need to be carried out to determine if the treatment would work with other cancers, he added.

According to Dr Virote, immunotherapy has clear advantages over chemotherapy in treating cancer patients, as it is a targeted treatment -- unlike chemotherapy, which affects all rapidly-dividing cells indiscriminately.

One of the study's participants said he welcomed the treatment, as chemotherapy had greatly affected his well-being.

Dr Chanchai Sittiphunt, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said the project needs the further support of all stakeholders, especially considering that cancer-related ailments claim over 100,000 Thais each year.

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