(clockwise) AFCR Founder and CEO Dr. Sujuan Ba, ECI Founder Mr. Andrew Forrest and PhIRDA Executive President Mr. Song Ruilin
Bringing International Partners Together
In recent months, the Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) has established relationships with two fellow Pacific Rim institutions: the China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association (PhIRDA)and the Australia-based Eliminate Cancer Initiative (ECI). The former is China’s pharmaceutical industry R&D body, comprised of member companies, whereas the latter is the cancer battling program of the Minderoo Foundation, a philanthropy founded by the wealthy mining magnate Andrew Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Metals Group.
PhIRDA, ECI, as well as AFCR and its long-term U.S. partner, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, teamed up on April 13th to co-host the China Brain Cancer Mission Round Table in Beijing, a gathering of three-dozen decision makers among premier Chinese and Hong Kong, U.S. and Australian government, industry, philanthropy, clinical, university and investment organizations focused on combating the disease among the three countries.
A Who’s Who of Cancer Science & Policy Pros
The Round Table was held at new facilities of Beijing Tiantan Hospital (BTH) of Capital Medical University (CMU), and AFCR founder and CEO Dr. Sujuan Ba played a crucial role in bringing together the host organizations. The event was moderated by Dr. Wenbin Li, Director of both CMU’s Hospital Administration Department and BTH’s Glioma Department. Remarks were delivered by Dr. Ba, BTH President Dr. Yongjun Wang, ECI Founder Mr. Andrew Forrest and PhIRDA Executive President Mr. Ruilin Song. Playing a key facilitating role was National Health and Family Planning Vice Minister Dr. Yixin Zeng, an important and knowledgeable central Chinese government official.
Among the day’s highlights was a presentation by two of ECI’s Policy Advancement and Clinical Sciences Board Members, introducing the organization’s guiding principles and current goals for cooperation with Chinese (and U.K.) brain cancer research teams. Those two ECI representatives were Dr. Ronald DePinho, the Past President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Dr. W.K. Alfred Yung, a Professor there. The latter too serves as AFCR’s Scientific Advisory Board Chairman.
Additional sessions included an update from Ms. Jinju Li, Deputy Director of the China Food and Drug Administration’s Department of Drug and Cosmetics Registration, focused on the topics of priority review, approval and extended clinical trials for brain cancer drugs.
Committing to More
A wrap-up discussion was led by Dr. Ba; Dr. DePinho; Dr. Shujun Cheng, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences’ Cancer Institute and Hospital; and Dr. Jizong Zhao, Chairman of BTH’s Neurosurgery Department. Topics ranged from adaptive clinical trial platforms, promotion of cancer research by international collaboration, innovative cancer therapies motivated by big data and identification of potential new funding sources and other forms of support.
In conclusion to the event, the participating experts, scholars and entrepreneurs agreed and challenged one another to:
- search for new brain cancer treatment targets,
- collaborate in pharmaceutical innovation,
- jointly formulate work plans and guidelines,
- accelerate market and import review and approval processes,
- invest in additional brain cancer research in China and elsewhere, and
- vigorously promote related work.