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May 28, 2017

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NTU announces important advance in cancer research

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Taiwan University (NTU) announced yesterday that it has successfully developed an in vitro cultivation method to create stem cells in lung cancer cases that can help increase the survival rates for cancer patients.

The university held a press conference to announce that the school's research team led by NTU President Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) successfully used the paracrine agent to cultivate stem cells in lung cancer tumors in vitro.

According to NTU, the results of the research were published in Nature Communications, an internationally renowned Internet magazine.

Yang, who has been studying lung cancer for some time, said that there are a lot of stem cells inside a human body, which can make people younger. However, Yang said, the stem cells of cancer cells makes tumors continue to grow so they cannot be removed easily.

"Even if the cancer patients receive chemical treatments to minimize the amount of stem cells of the cancer, they will continue to grow back after a while," said Yang. "And that is the key reason why cancer recurs and is the hardest part of cancer treatment."

Yang said that the team spent six years and finally discovered that the carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) can use paracrine agents to stimulate cancer cells to grow.

Chen Wan-chun, of the NTU research team, said that in order to better research the cancer stem cells, the team created an in vitro cultivation method that allowed the cancer's stem cells to grow in an environment that is similar to a human body.

"Through observing the message transporting path between stem cells and other cells, the team can develop a way to cut off the message-transporting path that can be applied on the research to create medicine to treat cancers," said Chen.

"Even though this research targeted the cells of lung cancer, the basic idea of the research can also be applied on the treatments of other cancers," said Chen.

According to Chen, there is not much research on lung cancer, so there were not sufficient amounts of medicines invented to treat lung cancer.

NTU said that this new breakthrough in lung cancer research can be applied to clinical trials that can benefit the development of medicines and raise the survival rates of cancer patients.

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