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VietNamNews

Potential for gene therapy highlighted

Update: March, 22/2013 - 10:31
Viet Nam should look to develop gene therapy and immunotherapy as efficient and effective ways to fight cancer and face other health challenges, given the development of genetics and biotechnology in recent years.— Illustrative image/Photo vnexpress.net

HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam should look to develop gene therapy and immunotherapy as efficient and effective ways to fight cancer and face other health challenges, given the development of genetics and biotechnology in recent years, experts say.

Speaking at the opening of the Gene and Immunotherapy Conference of Viet Nam (GIC-VN), Nguyen Lan Dung, chairman of the Viet Nam Society for Biology, noted that cancer continued to be a deadly killer in the world with a 70 per cent fatality rate.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, the number of cancer patients worldwide will reach 21 million by 2030, while the Viet Nam Cancer Association estimates that the country will have 150,000 patients suffering from the disease this year.

Successful development of gene therapies, which are developed based on understanding the original mechanisms by which genetic materials are altered or modified to cause cancer, is a crucial requirement, Dung said.

Considering the benefits that gene therapies can offer, gene therapy research for cancer treatment should be fully welcomed and supported by the people and authorities at all levels, Dung said.

The support should be realised not only as policy changes but also as proper investment in facilities, infrastructure and human resource development, he added.

The two-day conference organised by University of Science in co-operation with SaiGon Hi-Tech Park and Korea's Seoul National University, aims to highlight the importance of the emerging fields of gene and immunotherapies for therapeutic purposes towards improving healthcare of Viet Nam.

As a developing country, there is an immense need to learn from the international scientific community about their accomplishments and advances in order to harness them for improvement of medical research and application in Viet Nam, conference organisers said in a statement.

Vietnamese researchers have already made rapid progress resulting in notable achievements in biotechnology application, the statement said.

This has included gene diagnostics for genetic disorders of human diseases, infectious pathogens in human, animals and plants as well as invitro synthesis and production of therapeutic proteins including erythropoietin or biosimilar forms.

There are also clinical programmes for drug, protein and cell therapies in major cities of Viet Nam.

The conference will hear experts speak on many other topics including the effects of immunoactive agent OM-85 on prevention of respiratory infection in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. — VNS



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