• Kyodo

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NEC Corp. said it will develop cancer drugs using artificial intelligence, aiming to put new vaccines using peptides into practical use within the next eight years as key substances in next generation immunotherapy.

A peptide is a short chain of amino acids with an enormous number of variations and helps increase cells that attack cancer. Whether a pattern works depends on the patient’s leukocyte group, so NEC will use its AI technology to quickly choose the right type of peptide, the company said Monday.

Under joint research with Yamaguchi and Kochi universities, NEC has already discovered a peptide that the developers hope will be effective for liver cell and esophageal cancer.

A new company established for the project, Cytlimic Inc., plans to commercialize effective peptide vaccines in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, NEC said.

NEC has jointly launched Cytlimic in Tokyo with such firms as a group member of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

With minimal physical burdens on the patient, peptides are widely considered a “fourth” cancer therapy, following surgery, radiation treatment and conventional cancer drugs.

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