Japan has commenced a collaborative project with five Southeast Asian countries to develop cancer genomic medicines and other new drugs to provide better treatment for patients, the National Cancer Center Japan said Tuesday.
The Atlas project, of which Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are also a part, aims to develop targeted therapies for rare types of cancer, as well as provide opportunities for people outside of Japan to receive advanced treatment.
Cancer genomics uses technologies such as sequencing to identify DNA alterations and help doctors create customized treatments for an individual's cancer.
Parts of Southeast Asia lack the medical systems required to address the rising number of cancer patients that has accompanied population growth and economic development, the center said.
By expanding clinical trials to patients of other countries and sharing data, the project aims to accelerate the development of prospective drugs. Japan will also share its expertise through training and study programs.
The project will cover research on treatments for cervical cancer and genomes of solid tumors. The center is also considering creating a database for rare cancers which comprise only several out of 100,000 diagnoses made every year.
"We want to establish a development framework for drugs and promote cancer genomic medicines in Asia, catching up with Europe and the United States," said Kenichi Nakamura, chief of the Research Management Division at the center's hospital.