Professor Chang-Yeong Jang of the Division of Pharmacy at Sookmyung Women’s University is to receive funding from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), a world-class cancer society with 114 years of history, for cancer treatment research using electric fields.
Professor Jang was recognized for the importance of the proposed research and its leading role in the field of cancer treatment by supporting the research on brain tumor treatment using electric fields (Identification of new target of TTFs in mitosis for therapeutic application) for a research project organized by AACR. With this selection, he is to receive 250,000 dollars of research funding for two years starting in July.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and severe form of tumor that occurs primarily in the brain, and is the most difficult to treat refractory cancer among cancers. Even with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the average survival period is as short as 14 months. Novocure in Israel developed Tumor Treating Fields (TTFs) as a new treatment technique for these malignant brain tumors, and is supplying electric field treatment devices to US hospitals with the approval of the US FDA. Electric field therapy is known to induce the death of dividing brain tumor cells to eliminate cancer cells, but the detailed mechanism has yet to be elucidated.
Professor Jang, an expert in cell division research, became interested in the mechanism by which the electric field induces the death of brain tumor dividing cells, and in 2019 promoted and signed the Materials Transfer Agreement (MTA) between Novocure and Sookmyung Women's University, and received electric field therapy equipment. Despite COVID-19, he is actively conducting joint research to improve the effectiveness of brain tumor treatment through online meetings with Novocure.
Professor Jang said, "With the funding of the AACR, intensive research will be possible for two years, so it will be possible to develop a combination treatment strategy that can dramatically increase brain tumor treatment efficiency within a short period of time," and “the research on the mechanism of brain tumor cell death by tumor treating fields is expected to relieve the pain of brain tumor patients and applied to other cancer treatments to help conquer cancer.”
Unlike other anticancer treatments, electric field therapy has the advantage of having no side effects, and thus, researches are currently underway that apply it to the treatment of not only brain tumors but also other cancers. Professor Jang confirmed that electric field therapy is effective for triple negative breast cancer, another intractable cancer, through previous research, and through this research project, he expects to be able to propose a treatment strategy that extends the electric field therapy to breast cancer.