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MALAYSIA-SOUTH KOREA COLLABORATION INTRODUCES THE LATEST CANCER TREATMENT, NK CELL THERAPY

At the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and NK Biocell Sdn. Bhd. was signed (HUKM). With the help of this arrangement, UKM is able to generate MYJ1633, which contains NK cells and NK T cells (NKT Cell). It might be used to treat cancer patients.

There are more than 48,000 new cancer cases in Malaysia as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and this number will double by 2040. This will ultimately burden the country’s healthcare system and have a direct impact on the emotional, physical, and financial health of cancer patients. Currently, there are more than 150 oncologists in Malaysia making the ratio of 1 specialist doctor to 220,000 patients. In this regard, experts need the latest methods to provide appropriate treatment to cancer patients and NK Cell is poised to be one of the preferred measures.

NK Cell is part of the human immune system that plays an important role in destroying tumor cells and virus-infected cells. Due to this, research has been conducted and proved that these cells have the potential to be used for cancer immunotherapy treatment (Choi et al., 2019). As a result, ImmunisBio Co. Ltd.  (Korea) has developed and patented a technology to activate and expand NK and NKT cells in the laboratory. The final product is known as MYJ1633. Through this agreement, UKM is able to produce MYJ1633 for the Malaysian market through NK Biocell Sdn. Bhd.

UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Affairs, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Wan Kamal Mujani said, “I sincerely hope that this collaboration will provide a significant impact to the society and bring benefits to the country. Private-public partnerships are now regarded as the new frontier for higher learning institutions as we now have to embark on more tangible, deliverable and lab-to-market innovative research studies to produce more clinical products and services. We also hope that more medical products for the treatment of various diseases can be manufactured under the certified cGMP lab and CTERM UKM.”.

Chief Executive Officer of NK Biocell Sdn. Bhd., Dr. Park Ji-Youn said, “This milestone marks the joint efforts in the field of science, technology and medicine. We are able to produce MYJ1633, which is safe and reliable. In 2018,  it was certified and approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan. This benefits Malaysians especially cancer and autoimmune patients. MYJ1633 will also be registered under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) with the help from CTERM UKM. I sincerely believe that both parties will benefit from this collaboration.”.

This agreement has the potential to be a new hope for cancer patients in Malaysia who are seeking treatment other than chemotherapy. Patients have options according to their ability and suitability ensuring continuous treatment.

This ceremony was also attended by the Dean of the UKM Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Abdul Halim Abdul Gafor, Deputy Dean (Network and Alumni) Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Marina Mat Baki, Head of Department of Center for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (CTERM) UKM, Prof. Associate Dr. Mohd Fauzi Mh Busra, head of departments and health experts in Malaysia.

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