Chi-Huey Wong Reviews the Development of Globo-H Cancer Vaccine

The World Health Organization reports that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally

About 9.6 million people died all over the world due to cancer in 2018, the World Health Organization claims. Reportedly, 70% of deaths happened in low to middle income nations. Previously, the record was held by Ischameic heart disease. The most often encountered cancers affect the breasts, lungs, colon, liver, prostate and stomach.

In 2018, the World Health Organization reports that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally (preceded by Ischaemic heart disease), responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths with approximately 70% occurring in low to middle-income countries. Of these cases, the most commonly occurring cancers are those which infect the lungs, breasts, colon, stomach, prostate, liver and pancreas. Acclaimed biochemist Professor Chi-Huey Wong, PhD has worked tirelessly over the course of his career in advanced research to develop effective immunotherapy treatment regimens targeting the most prevalent types of cancerous tumour growth. After more than 30 years of research conducted out of labs based in the USA, Japan and Taiwan, Dr.Wong is particularly excited by the prospects for effective therapy and suppression of cancer cells and their stem cells through the application of Globo H vaccinations.

Globo H is a tumour-associated carbohydrate antigen found in epithelial cells (plasma membrane) that was first isolated in 1983 and observed to be expressed across a variety of cancers. Its complex chemistry made it highly difficult to replicate for study, until Chi-Huey Wong designed the Optimer One-Pot Synthesis (OPopS) which allowed for a complete and rapid synthesis of Globo H and the development of one of the first carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines, specifically targeting breast cancer cells and demonstrating positive results through Phase I and II human trials. The vaccine is currently in phase III global trials conducted by the Taiwaness biopharmaceutical company OBI Pharma, Inc.

A proliferation of Globo H studies published in journals such as the US National Library of Medicine, The Journal of Ovarian Research, The National Academy of Sciences and the American Chemical Society (which published Dr.Wong’s seminal pieces “Development of Globo H Vaccine” and “Functional Study and Signaling Pathway of Globo-series Glycosphingolipids and β1,3-Galactosyltransferase V (β3GalT5) in Breast Cancer”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2019, 116, 3518-23) have shown promising data indicating the role and signaling mechanism of the globo-series glycolipids in cancer progression, and the positive efficacy correlation with these markers present in many leading cancer types. These studies and human trials support not only the continued research and application of vaccination technologies, but will also serve to aid in preventive screening and identifications.

Beginning in 2018, OBI has been conducting FDA-approved Phase I clinical trials of a “novel first-in-class monoclonal antibody”—OBI 888, specifically geared as a tumour-killer that targets Globo H and has shown efficacy at shrinking cancerous growths with no adverse effects to patients. New York-based Creative Biolabs are also demonstrating major advances in similar immunotherapies, offering primary and secondary prevention regimens based on antigens found in breast and prostate cancers and small cell lung carcinomas.

With a career spanning more than three decades beginning with an M.S. in Biochemical Sciences from the National Taiwan University in 1977, a PhD in Chemistry from MIT in 1982 and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from Harvard University in 1983, Chi-Huey Wong is recognized as a pioneer in the fields of glycoscience, organic chemistry and chemical biology and has published more than 700 academic research papers as reported by Asian Scientist Newsroom. Among his many accolades are the 2015 Robert Robinson Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2014 Wolf Prize in Chemistry (cited as the most prestigious award after the Nobel Prize) and the 2012 Nikkei Prize in Science, Technology and Innovation Category. Dr.Wong currently serves as the Scripps Family Chair Professor of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in California and has previously held distinguished positions with the Academia Sinica in Taiwan and the RIKEN Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in Japan.

Chi-Huey Wong On the Importance of Glycan Microarrays for Understanding Immunity:

Chi-Huey Wong Examines Methods of Automation in Oligosaccharides Synthesis:

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