Sat, Feb 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

National health institute to improve cancer care


The Cancer Research Institute at the National Health Research Institute (NHRI) announced yesterday that it will begin three clinical experiments soon, namely trials of herbal medicine, fortifying anti-tumor immunity and personalizing patient treatment, in a bid to improve levels of cancer treatment.

The institute said it will begin by testing the new herbal PHY906 botanical drug on liver cancer patients. The project is expected to start within the next two months. The institute also plans to test the drug on colorectal cancer patients at a later stage.

The drug is used mainly to help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and to enhance its efficacy, according to the institute's attending physicians.

For the anti-tumor immunity experiment, the institute's associate investigator Liu Ko-jiunn (劉柯俊) is carrying out a study on terminal colorectal cancer patients, extracting dendritic cells and cancer cells from the patients, incubating them to identify the cancer cells and then injecting the dendritic cells back into the patients to help boost their immune systems.

"Hopefully in the future we will use this method on cancer patients who have just undergone surgery in order to reduce the recurrence of cancer or extend the interval between recurrences," Liu said.

Meanwhile, the institute's assistant investigator, Jacqueline Liu, is working on personalized treatment for breast cancer patients, using tumor markers together with assessment of individual conditions to decide on the best course of treatment for each patient.

The NHRI is a non-profit foundation founded by the Taiwanese government and is dedicated to the enhancement of medical research and the improvement of health care in Taiwan.

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