A University of Tokyo committee on gene therapy research decided Tuesday to perform the nation’s second gene therapy treatment on a 60-year-old patient with kidney cancer.
It marks the first time in Japan that such a medical procedure will be used to treat cancer.
A medical team from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo will remove the man’s kidney — with cancer having spread to his lungs as well — on Oct. 5.
Doctors who formerly treated the man at Tsukuba University Hospital will also take part in the therapy. Doctors plan to insert a gene into the cells of the cancerous kidney. The gene is supposed to activate lymphocytes, preventing cancer from recurring or spreading to other spots, the committee said.
After taking the kidney out, the medical team requires about eight weeks before confirming the safety of the gene-injected cells. If everything goes well, the doctors will inject the cells back into the patient in December at the earliest, the officials said.
Afterward, the team will administer five injections every two weeks to check that the cells are safe and working. The patient has already been informed of the procedure and has agreed to undergo surgery.
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