International Cooperation Can Accelerate Cancer Cure: US-China Business Forum

How to compete with China has become a hot topic among US policymakers this year. And yet collaboration between the two in the fight against cancer through clinical trials involving new treatments is one area that can speed healing and save lives.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) Medical Ambassador for China and Asia-Pacific Dr. Bob Lee said at the US-China Business Forum organized by Forbes China and Forbes’ August 5th event in New York.

China and America are number 1 and number 2 in the world in terms of cancer deaths. What China brings to the table in the partnership is a large number of patients, as China not long ago lagged behind the US in drug development. Yet there has been improvement in this regard as well, said Lee, a medical oncologist at MSK who specializes in lung cancer.

“With China on board, you have the population size and the ability to reach patients who are willing to join trials,” Lee said. “Generating combined data really accelerates the pace of treatment.” Pre-agreement on intellectual property rules facilitates the process.

Li, a native of Shanghai, grew up in Sydney, attended the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, and moved to New York eight years ago to join MSK. “I originally planned to stay here for two years, come back to Australia and have a much better work-life balance,” he said.

Now, Lee said, “There’s no return date. I’ve told my Australian friends and colleagues: ‘Don’t worry about saving me a job or something.’ I have had the great honor and opportunity to do a lot of international outreach for MSK, he said.

Lee’s title is the first to be awarded by a cancer center in New York. “This signifies our desire to collaborate in cancer research and education to accelerate cancer treatment in China and the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

Lee has led MSK’s collaboration with the Chinese Thoracic Oncology Group (CTONG), which is based in China under surgeon-scientist Dr. A leading cooperative group of over 30 academic cancer centers led by Yi-Long Wu; Wu has pioneered trials in FDA approval of lung cancer drugs at a record pace, Li noted. The MSK-CTONG collaboration has called for international regulatory harmonization to accelerate cancer drug development and recently launched US-China and international registration trials of Enhertu as first-line therapy for patients with HER2-mutant lung cancer.

Since 2018, the pair have expanded the availability of new drugs from other countries in the US and China, as Beijing has made it easier for regulatory bodies to approve treatments for cancer patients there based on international data, paving the way for possible simultaneous regulatory approvals. New treatments in both countries in the future. The project aligns with the U.S. goal of Orbis, an FDA Oncology Center of Excellence initiative that provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of cancer products among international regulatory agencies, Lee notes.

Ironically, Covid-19 has helped make coordination easier with the widespread use of Zoom and other platforms. “It helps conduct clinical trials at a much faster pace,” he said.

In related news, Forbes China announced last week that its third Forbes China Healthcare Summit will be held on August 26, 2022 in the United States (August 27, 2022 in China). The free event will respond to President Joe Biden’s call for new ideas on the rekindled cancer moonshot earlier this year and discuss “new international directions for a rekindled moonshot.” With the possibility of international cooperation. (Click here to register.)

Attendees at the upcoming gathering, organized by Forbes China in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Asia Society in New York: Steve Forbes, President and Editor-in-Chief, Forbes; The Honorable Kevin Rudd, President and CEO, Asia Society, 26th Prime Minister of Australia; Dr. Wu Yi-Long, Chairman, Chinese Thoracic Oncology Group, China; Greg Simon, inaugural executive director, White House Cancer Moonshot; Dr. Lisa M. DeAngelis, Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer, MSK; Dr. Nancy Y. Lee, Chief and Vice President, Radiation Oncology, MSK; Dr. Lewis J. DeGennaro, President and CEO, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Dr. Tyler Jacks, President, Break Through Cancer;

Other speakers include Prof. Andrew W. Low, Professor of Finance, MIT; Co-Founder QLS Consultants; Kenneth Manotti, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, MSK; Dr. Yinghua Wang, Senior Regulatory Health Project Manager, Center of Excellence, FDA; Rose Gao, Head of Novartis China Global Drug Development, Novartis; Dr. Eduard Gasel, President, Invent USA; and Dr. Vincent Chia, Managing Director, Raffles China Healthcare, Raffles Medical Group. Dr Lee will also join; I will be hosting.

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