9 Nov 2009 11:01

Molecular-targeted cancer therapy grows in China - expert

Shanghai. November 9. INTERFAX-CHINA - A growing number of Chinese lung cancer patients are being treated with molecular-targeted therapy due to the treatment's higher clinical success rate at prolonging the lives of Asian patients, an expert told Interfax on Nov. 6 at an industry event.

Molecular-targeted therapy is one of the most recently developed drug treatments for cancer. Since it was introduced in China in 2003, the treatment has been clinically proven to be more effective in treating Asian patients than patients of European descent, said Professor Bai Chunxue, director of the Department of Respiration of Zhongshan Hospital, which is affiliated with Fudan University.

Currently, the drugs Iressa from AstraZeneca, and Tarceva from Roche, are the only drugs for molecular-targeted therapy available for clinical use in China, but another is on the way, Bai said at the 6th International Symposium of Respiratory Disease in Shanghai

"A new, innovative molecular-targeted oncology drug from Boehringer Ingelheim has completed clinical trials at Zhongshan Hospital this year and may make it to market next year," he said.

And many other target oncology drugs are being developed, such as Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR), which will give doctors more options in a few years, said Shi Yuankai, vice president of the Cancer Institute & Hospital of the China Academy of Medical Sciences.

More than 600,000 people die each year of lung cancer in China, according to the statistics of World Health Organization. The WHO projected that the number of deaths from cancer will grow to 1 million by 2025.