Sunday, June 20, 2021

First clinical trial for oral cancer vaccine at year-end

Cancer Research Malaysia says the vaccine will be the first such therapy developed in the country.

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Research organisation Cancer Research Malaysia says the country’s first clinical trial for oral cancer will kick off by the end of the year.

Dr Teo Soo-Hwan, chief scientific officer at the organisation, said the pre-clinical study being done on animals will wrap up soon, to be followed by the next phase, to ensure that the study can be safely conducted on humans.

“We are putting the package together to go to the regulating authorities,” she said. “If everything goes well, we should enter Phase One of our clinical trials by the end of the year.”

The clinical study will ensure that oral cancer patients can move towards innovative therapy instead of opting for only chemotherapy and surgery.

The vaccine to be used will be the first therapy developed in Malaysia, funded by the science, technology and innovation ministry as well as through donations to Cancer Research Malaysia.

“This is an important landmark for us Malaysians,” Teo said at an online seminar organised by the ministry in conjunction with National Science Week 2021.

The seminar was moderated by minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Pharmaniaga head of research and development Dr Badarulhisam Abdul Rahman.

In his opening speech, Khairy said it was time for Malaysia to develop its own vaccines instead of buying them from abroad.

“When this pandemic started, we realised a great concern in Malaysia is that we don’t have the capacity to develop vaccines yet. That’s why for Covid-19, we had to buy from abroad.

“It’s important for us to start our vaccine development now as experts have said this will probably not be the last pandemic. We have to continue to develop vaccines for our future,” he said.

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