Taipei--Taiwan's research on helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria has been excellent, becoming a reference for the treatment of gastric problems in other countries and resulting in changed treatment guidelines, the head of a national research program said Wednesday.
That type of worldwide recognition of Taiwan's work is "not an easy achievement," said Yang Pan-chyr (???), head of the National Research Program for Biophamaceuticals and president of National Taiwan University (NTU).
Several major clinical trials have been conducted by Taiwan and have become an important reference for the rest of the world, Yang said at a meeting to release the results of Taiwan's research on H. pylori, a type of bacteria that grows in the digestive tract and can invade the stomach lining.
Taiwanese researchers have established that a certain regimen of antibiotics can be used effectively against H. pylori, according to Yang.
He said a team of biomedical researchers at NTU had found that the use of sequential therapy - three types of antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors - was more effective against the bacteria than the conventional triple therapy.
According to Yang, Taiwanese, particularly in rural areas, are prone to stomach problems, related to H. pylori infections, which puts them at high risk for gastritis and stomach ulcers and cancer.
On the outlying island of Matsu, where the rate of H. pylori infections was found to be highest, researchers carried out clinical trials of the antibiotic sequential therapy for five years, he said.
The results showed a dramatic decrease in the incidence of stomach cancer, Yang said.
In the wider population, the incidence of gastric ulcers has dropped by half over the past decade and the rate of stomach cancer has also decreased as a result of treatment based on the research, he said.
Also based on Taiwan's research, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is affiliated with the World Health Organization, has worked out a model for H. pylori screening to prevent stomach cancer, Yang said.
He said that while Taiwan's clinical tests might lag behind China and South Korea's in terms of volume, the quality is excellent and the tests have been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel