Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. It kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, which accounted for 7-8 million deaths each year. The global annual cancer incidence will exceed 20 million by 2020 and 10 million annual deaths are expected.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the three basic treatments of cancer while surgery remains standard of care for treating most cancers. Unfortunately, most cancer cases, in particular those of lung cancer and liver cancer, are not diagnosed until the later stages of development, by which time surgery is no longer possible and treatment options thus become more limited. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy destroy both cancer cells and normal cells. Their general side effects include anemia, hair loss, oral ulcer, nausea and vomiting. There is an obvious need to identify new and better therapeutic agents.
The Lo Ka Chung Research Centre for Natural Anti-Cancer Drug Development is established in late 2006. Through out the years the centre has carried out pioneering research in natural anti-cancer drugs, and has contributed directly to the community by promoting educational training. So far, the centre has developed two novel drugs to treat cancer. Together with Bio-Cancer Treatment International Limited we developed our first drug (BCT-100) for liver cancer. BCT-100 is currently under formal phase I/II clinical trials at Queen Mary Hospital with encouraging results. The second drug (BCA-PEG20), which represents a new paradigm for treating many cancer types, has been awarded the Prize of the State of Geneva and Gold Medal with Jury’s Commendation at the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products of Geneva in 2009. We have formulated the drug with state-of-the-art DNA technology and protein modification and significantly prolonged its half-life for therapeutic use. The use of this new drug will open up many new opportunities for treating different types of cancers.