Thai research deploys natural killer cells against cancer

June 25, 2019

Natural killer cells are a component of white blood cells, which are crucial to our immune system’s detection/destruction of abnormal cells before they develop into cancerous tumours. Recently, Thai researchers have successfully used these natural killer cells in their national cancer therapy, for high-risk leukaemia (blood cancer) patients.

Dr. Koramit Suppipat, Head Researcher of Cell Therapy at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, explained that the pilot project sought to develop an effective treatment for leukaemia, with funding from the Thai Centre of Excellence for Life Science (TCELS).

After a year, the faculty’s Assistant Professor Dr. Udomsak Bunworasate has reported that the first of five patients in the pilot showed promising results – no cancer relapses. The patients were all unresponsive to various treatments previously and faced high chances of relapse, but now have safer levels of natural killer cells for treatment.

Cancer has been the biggest killer in Thailand since 1999 – currently, nearly 10,000 die each year as relapses are likely even after cancer recovery. TCELS Deputy Director Sirasak Teparkum said the association is working closely with over 200 researchers to develop new treatments to stand better chances against cancer.


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