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U.S. cancer center eyes more clinical cooperation with China

(Xinhua)    14:34, January 10, 2015

BEIJING, Jan. 10  -- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), a top-ranking cancer research institute and hospital in the United States, said it is looking forward to more cooperation in clinical trials and treatment with Chinese partners.

Oliver Bogler, MDACC senior vice president for academic affairs, told Xinhua that collaborations with Chinese partners have been productive in several fields, such as cancer screening, liver cancer and lung cancer treatment, and the center is planning more cooperation in clinical trials and comparative studies with China.

"Cancer is a significant challenge to both China and the U.S," Bogler said, noting that every country has a unique spectrum of cancers depending on factors such as population and environment. Bogler said that with many good scientists, people's contributions and the government's commitment in fighting cancer, China offers "tremendous opportunities" to develop cancer research.

Bogler was recently in Beijing to receive the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People's Republic of China. He was among eight winners for this year's award, which was presented by China's State Council Friday to foreign scientists and organizations for their work in science and technology cooperation with China.

According to Ta-Jen Liu, the MDACC's project director for global academic programs, the MDACC has several sister institutions in China, including the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center and the Sir YK Pao Centre for Cancer under the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It has also signed memoranda of understanding to collaborate with other Chinese institutions.

Cooperation with these institutions is currently focused on training, education and patient care.

According to Liu, the MDACC is also open-minded on verified herbal medicines and other traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs).

"The MDACC views TCMs as an alternative means of cancer management. The department of integrative medicine at MDACC uses Qigong and acupuncture to help cancer patients manage quality of life and symptom control, especially for pain," he said.

However, he said the center remains prudent about using TCM for direct cancer treatment, as the efficacy of TCM is still difficult to accurately define.

Bogler said he believes immunotherapy, which focuses on therapy to reactivate patients' immune systems and unleash their ability to attack cancer, will be one of the most promising directions in research in the future.

"It is not new, but many new exciting things have happened in this area in recent years. We hope new developments will happen in this area, and clinical trials have also been active," he said.

Noting the MDACC slogan of "making cancer history," Bogler said to all cancer patients: "Be hopeful about the future."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Bianji)

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