Early-stage Lung Cancer Blood Test-Development of Early Recurrence Prognostic Kit

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has been committed to promoting basic and translational research in medicine. Over the years, NSTC has supported domestic researchers in pursuing academic excellence, especially in exploring the causes of diseases, enhancing diagnostic precision and optimizing treatment strategies. Thanks to the unwavering support of the NSTC, numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs have been made to improve the well-being of the lives of individuals and communities worldwide. 

The long-term support program for the Health Big Data Platform initiated by NSTC has achieved outstanding research accomplishment. Under the leadership of Professor Gee-Chen Chang, Vice President of Chung Shan Medical University, an interdisciplinary team composed of experts from diverse fields including Distinguished Research Fellow Yu-Ju Chen from the Institute of Chemistry, Research Fellow Hsuan-Yu Chen from the Institute of Statistical Science at Academia Sinica, and Professor Sung-Liang Yu, director of the Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology at National Taiwan University. The team has announced the development of a cutting-edge medical technology that promises to improve outcome for early-stage lung cancer patients. The "Early Lung Cancer High Recurrence Prediction Kit" is set to revolutionize the way physicians approach the diagnosis and treatment of this deadly disease.

Despite persistent efforts to improve healthcare, lung cancer mortality rates remain a major public health concern. Even after undergoing surgical treatment, nearly one-third of early-stage lung cancer patients still experience recurrence and metastasis in the following years. To address this challenge, the Taiwanese Cancer Moonshot Team has established the East Asia’s first lung cancer database and conducted a comprehensive analysis of the data to generate Taiwan's lung cancer proteogenomic atlas. The team found that early-stage lung cancer patients who express late-like proteins are likely to have a poorer prognosis after surgery. In 2020, the prestigious international journal Cell published the results which were also selected as its cover story.

Recognizing the immense potential of late-like proteins as a diagnostic tool, the team, with the financial support from NSTC, is dedicated to developing an early-stage lung cancer high-risk prediction assay. Researchers in the team conducted a big data analysis on 14,000 proteins and identified 127 plasma proteins for further evaluation of their diagnostic value using ELISA analysis. Following two years of dedicated effort, the research results were clinically validated using blood samples collected from total of 200 patients at National Taiwan University Hospital and Chung Shan Medical University Hospital. The analysis led to the discovery of a combination of four plasma proteins that could successfully predict the cancer recurrence of early-stage lung cancer patients who underwent surgery with a sensitivity of 85%. None of the patients assessed as low-risk had a recurrence of cancer within five years.

The research team is collaborating with a manufacturer in Taiwan to produce monoclonal antibodies for the 4-protein predictive kit. Simultaneously, the Taiwan Instrument Research Institute is conducting patent research and analysis, with plans to file for patents in Taiwan and the United States in the second half of this year. The project's significant achievements caused a great sensation at the 2022 Asian Biotech Exhibition, leading to an invitation to give a presentation at 2022 HUPO Conference.

This lung cancer recurrence predictive assay is expected to become a reliable non-invasive blood testing tool. A simple blood test requiring only 1c.c. of blood can now reveal the probability of cancer recurrence in the next five years, offering a chance for timely intervention and enhanced control of the disease. The impending launch of this remarkable bench to bed advancement holds great promise for improving the well-being of Taiwanese lung cancer patients. Taiwan’s biotech industry chain has been amply demonstrated by the completion of the project, from research and development to manufacturing, carried out by a cross-disciplinary team in the country. This outstanding portrayal exemplifies the NSTC’s pivotal role in driving biomedical advancements, highlighting their significant contribution to the community.



Media Contact
Yo-Chi Chang
Program Manager
Department of Life Sciences
National Science and Technology Council
TEL: +886-2-27377544
E-mail: yochang@nstc.gov.tw

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Last Modified : 2023/06/12