Researchers from Taipei Medical University (TMU) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have developed a method that could potentially improve the effects of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in cancer patients.
Tsai Kun-chih (蔡坤志), a professor at TMU’s Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, told a news conference in Taipei on Monday that about 70 percent of all solid tumors in patients are drug resistant prior to treatment.
The tumors not only respond poorly to chemotherapy, but are also resistant to immune cells naturally produced by the body or administered as part of treatment, said Tsai, who also heads the Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital’s clinical research center.
Traditional chemotherapy can only inhibit about 30 percent of cancer growth, while immunotherapy, which has grown in use in the past few years, is only effective for about 15 percent of patients, he said.
The researchers discovered five years ago that tumor cells in patients have a self-protection mechanism called the “death checkpoint,” which makes them resistant to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, TMU said.
At the heart of that resistance can be a protein called nuclear receptor corepressor 2 (NCOR2), which inhibits antitumor immunity and natural stress responses.
To overcome the problem, Tsai said the team developed “NCOR2 decoy gene therapy,” which could suppress a tumor cell’s resistance to drugs.
In various animal preclinical studies, the therapy, combined with either chemotherapeutic drugs or immune checkpoint inhibitors, greatly improved the response rate in difficult-to-treat cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer and pancreatic cancer from the initial 30 percent to more than 90 percent.
Speaking over teleconferencing, UCSF researchers said they studied the therapy on difficult-to-treat breast cancers and pancreatic cancer, and have also made progress with brain cancer.
NCOR2 decoy gene therapy could be effective in treating many different cancers, they added.
Tsai said they expect that their solution could enter the animal clinical testing stage within three to five years.
The study by TMU and UCSF researchers, titled “Screening of organoids derived from patients with breast cancer implicates the repressor NCOR2 in cytotoxic stress response and antitumor immunity,” was published in the journal Nature Cancer on May 26.
HOT-SPRING RETREAT: A hotel in Japan incurred a loss of about US$1,846 after a Taiwanese man failed to show up for his reservation due to a misunderstood message A Taiwanese man who failed to show up for a hotel reservation in Japan has apologized and offered compensation, the hotel said yesterday. The man, surnamed Lee (李), reserved a room at the Yufuin Tsubaki hot-spring hotel in Oita for the Lunar New Year holiday, but failed to show up on Friday. Lee yesterday called the hotel to apologize and offered to compensate the losses caused by his failure to show up, a hotel employee surnamed Yashiro said. Lee’s wife also called on Sunday to apologize, she said. Lee had booked a two-night stay with upscale seafood and beef meals, the hotel said. His
Two Taiwanese Americans were among those killed in a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles (TECO LA) said it contacted local authorities, who confirmed that two of the 11 killed in the shooting were Taiwanese Americans. “TECO LA conveys our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and sends our prayers to the injured for a speedy recovery,” it said in a statement. The office said it is assisting the relatives of one of the victims to travel from
A senior US senator on Monday questioned the willingness of some US allies to help defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Although Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) expects the US and Japan to respond in a war in the Taiwan Strait, he was “a little less confident what our other allies would do,” US Senator John Cornyn said. Australia and New Zealand have voiced support for Taiwan, but it “is a far cry from committing troops to repel an invasion,” Cornyn said during a discussion on China, Russia and the state of US military readiness at a forum hosted
Whisky connoisseurs are a rapidly growing demographic in Taiwan, driving prices ever higher as collectors vie for the most coveted editions. Although not a new pastime, whisky collection has been picking up steam in recent years. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Taiwan was the third-largest buyer of Scotch whisky in 2021 in monetary terms. One collector, surnamed Fu (傅), said there are many types of whisky that are ripe for collecting. One that has skyrocketed in price in recent years is the Macallan 12-year-old Gran Reserva, which bears a striking purple label, said Fu, who has more than 10 years of experience as