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Medical startup launches largest cell therapy trial

By Liu Zhihua | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-29 11:12

Immunotech Applied Science Ltd, a Beijing-based medical startup founded in 2006, recently announced it has started China's largest clinical trial in the field of cell therapy, an emerging approach to treat cancer and other serious conditions.

The company has been developing an immune cell therapy product based on a method called Expanding Activated Lymphocytes to treat solid tumor, and the clinical trial is designed to access the therapy's ability to prevent recurrence after radical surgery of liver cancer, one of the top cancer killers in China.

The trial aims to recruit 272 patients, making it the largest of its kind, and will provide policymakers and regulators objective and informative data to promote the development of immune cell therapy technology in China, the company said.

"This is the largest clinical recruitment in the field of domestic cell therapy research and development," said Wu Jianxiong, director of hepatobiliary surgery department in Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

"It shows that research and development in immune cell therapy is on a good track in China, and also means that China has made a major change to administrate immune cell therapy as a medication instead of as a medical technology."

Through direct or indirect killing of cancer cells, cancer immune cell therapy uses the body's own immune cells to fight cancer, and thus maintains a relatively longer efficacy, according to Wu.

A total of about 10 top Chinese hospitals in both Beijing and Tianjin, including the 301 Hospital in Beijing that's leading the study, will conduct the clinical trial.

Patients involved in the trial will have free medication and subsidies on transportation and nutrition.

Professional service providers will take charge of the trial project management, data collection, and clinical research coordination among many other operations.

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