Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Business / Industries

New brain cancer therapy may launch in China

By Liu Zhihua | | Updated: 2019-05-21 15:09
Share - WeChat
Several medicines to treat the disease have already started phase-two clinical trials in China. [Photo/VCG]

Thanks to joint efforts by Chinese pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals, Chinese patients suffering from glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain, are likely to have more options for treatment, a key medical expert said.

Li Wenbin, deputy chief of the glioblastoma multiforme branch of the China Anti-Aancer Association, said Optune, a cancer therapy that uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell division, inhibiting tumor growth and causing affected cancer cells to die, will probably be approved for commercialization in the Chinese mainland within the year, marking a milestone of progress for the disease care.

Statistically, about five to eight people out of 100,000 will get glioma every year, with about half of them diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, which has a five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent, Li said, adding that the median survival time for patients is only about 14.6 months.

The combined use of Optune and classic treatments including operation, radiotherapy and chemical therapy can extend patients' median survival time to about 20 months, according to Li, who is also the director of the neuro-oncology department of Beijing Tiantan Hospital, a comprehensive hospital renowned for expertise in neurology and neurosurgery.

Besides, several medicines to treat the disease have already started phase-two clinical trials in China, including two first-in-class trials led by Li which have delivered promising results.

Both of the medicines are developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Li said.

Li made the remarks at a media interview during a forum held recently in Beijing on new technologies for treating glioblastoma multiforme.

Zai Lab, a Shanghai-based innovative biopharmaceutical company, licensed the technology from the NASDAQ-listed oncology company Novocure in September 2018 for the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan markets, and has launched it in Hong Kong. Novocure has been marketed as Optune in the United States, Europe and Japan.

While Optune is not yet approved for commercialization in China, the technology was included and recommended as a treatment for glioblastoma multiforme in China's Glioma Treatment Guideline published in 2016. In December 2018, the national treatment guideline was expanded to include both newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma multiforme patients.

Zai Lab told China Daily that it is preparing documents to file a market launch application for Optune as an innovative medical device to China's National Medical Products Administration, and hopes to launch it on the Chinese mainland within the year if the NMPA accepts its request for a clinical trial waiver.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349