Newsletter No. 226

Pre-clinical Studies Show Effectiveness of New Anti-cancer Product T h e Department of Biochemistry conducted a series of in-vitro and in-vivo pre-clinical studies for an anti- cancer product developed by CK Life Sciences International (Holdings) Inc. The results show that immune cells in mice fed with the product are activated while human liver cancer cells implanted in them are suppressed. The positive pre- clinical findings have prompted the two parties to launch clinical trials. Prof. Fung Kwok-pui, leader of the pre-clinical studies and professor of biochemistry, said, 'This clinical trial is a good example of cooperation between academia and commerce. ... Not only wou ld such collaboration speed up the pace of research, but it would also give wider recognition to study results.' Preliminary studies show that the orally-prescribed, yeast-based product can improve the immune system of cancer patients, reduce mortality rate, and promote recovery from chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It can also lessen common side- e f f e c ts caused by c hemo t he r apy and radiotherapy such as nausea, b l e e d i n g, edema, and deterioration of the immune system, and prevent complications and pain arising from surgery and injection. Prof. Fung Kwok-pui (right), Prof. P.C. Leung (left) and Prof. S.F. Pang (middle), vice-president and chief technology officer of CK Life Sciences Breakthrough in Treatment for Autoimmune Disorder I mmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), one of the most common autoimmune disorders today, results from autoantibodies working against our blood platelets. The Prince of Wales Hospital registers about 30 to 40 new cases annually. Patients with ITP have a higher risk of bleeding, which may be life-threatening. Costicosteroid is proven to be an effective first-line therapy for this disorder. Conventional treatment involves the use of prednisone and the treatment lasts for weeks to months. It increases the platelet count in about 75 per cent of adult patients. A prolonged course of corticosteroid therapy may lead to side-effects including infection, osteoporosis, hypertension and endocrine disturbances. From January 1977 to December 2000, the Division of Haematology of the D e p a r t m e nt o f M e d i c i ne and Therapeutics treated 125 adult ITP patients using a new regimen o f corticosteroid that contains a high dose of dexamethasone. The treatment lasted four days. Eighty-five per cent of the patients showed a positive i n i t i al response to the treatment and most were discharged from hospital by the third day of treatment. Half remained in remission without further treatment at six months' follow-up. Though just as effective as conventional treatment, the new regimen is safer. Its short duration minimizes the adverse effects of a prolonged course of corticosteroid therapy. It also produces a quicker response in patients and reduces the length of hospital stay. The breakthrough was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on 28th August 2003. Principal investigator Prof. Gregory Cheng (right) and Dr. S.M. Wong 宣布事项 ANNOUNCEMENTS 新任讲座教授 Professorial Appointments 化学病理学讲座教授 Professor of Chemical Pathology 大学委任卢煜明教授为化学病理学讲座教授,任期由 二零零三年十月一日起生效。 卢教授一九八六年取得剑桥 大学文学士学位后,到牛津大学习医,先后获授内外全科 医学士 (1989)、 哲学博士 (1994) 和医学博士 (2001) 衔。 他曾在牛津大学教学医院钻研和讲授临床生物化学与 化学病理学七年,于一九九七年加入中大服务,二零零零 年晋升为教授。 卢教授为多个学术团体的成员,并出任多种学术期刊 的编委或审稿员,二零零一年获选为世界杰出青年。他持 有「非入侵性产前诊断」专利。 Prof. Dennis Lo Yuk-ming has been appointed professor of chemical pathology with effect from 1st October 2003. He joined CUHK as associate professor in the Department of Chemical Pathology in 1997, becoming professor in 2000, and associate dean (research) of the Faculty of Medicine in 2002. Prof. Lo obtained his BA and MA from Cambridge University, his B.M. B.Ch., D. Phil., and DM from Oxford University. He was Wellcome Medical Graduate Fellow and then Wellcome Career Development Fellow at John Radcliffe Hospital in the UK from 1990 to 1994. Subsequently he was university lecturer at the University of Oxford and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Biochemistry of John Radcliffe Hospital. Prof. Lo's current research interests include foetal nucleic acid in maternal plasma/ serum, tumour-derived neucleic acid in plasma/serum, and other aspects of circulating nucleic acids. He holds a patent on Non-invasive Prenatal Diagnosis in the USA and Australia. 妇产科讲座教授 Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 大学委任钟国衡教授为妇产科讲座教授,任期由二 零零三年十月一日起生效。 钟教授在悉尼大学习医,一九七七年获授内外全科 医学士学位,八一年取得澳洲皇家妇产科医学院文凭,九 七年获中文大学颁授医学博士学位。 他于八一至八五年在澳洲纽卡素行医,八六年出任 皇家纽卡素医院妇产科医生,八九年加入中大服务,九四 年晋升为高级讲师,九九年为教授。 钟教授是多个香港、澳纽和亚太区医学团体的院士或 成员。 Prof. Tony Chung Kwok-hung has been appointed professor of obstetrics and gynaecology with effect from 1st October 2003. He joined The Chinese University as lecturer and visiting lecturer in 1989. He became chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2000 and associate dean (education) of the Faculty of Medicine in 2002. Prof. Chung obtained his MB BS from Sydney University in 1977 and his MD from CUHK in 1997. He was in family medicine practice in Newcastle, Australia, and subsequently registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Royal Newcastle Hospital from 1981 to 1988. His research focuses mainly on two related areas: gynaecological oncology and psychosomatic medicine. 外科讲座教授 Professor ofSurgery 大学委任杨重光教授为外科讲座教授,任期由二零 零三年十月一日起生效。 杨教授一九八一年港大医科毕业,八五年取得爱丁 堡和格拉斯哥两所皇家外科医学院的院士资格,九五年获 中文大学颁授医学博士学位。 他专攻小儿外科,尤其有关泌尿系统的疾病。他曾 在香港和英国行医并深造多年,于九三年加入中大服务。 杨教授是三十多个国际组织的成员乃至会长,又出 任十种学术期刊的编辑、编委或审稿员。 Prof. Yeung Chung-kwong has been appointed professor of surgery with effect from 1 st October 2003. Prof. Yeung began his career as a full-time paediatric surgeon in Hong Kong soon after the completion of his general surgical training and obtaining his fellowship from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1985. He then proceeded to work overseas in London, first in the Liver Transplantation Unit in King's College Hospital, and later in the Department of Paediatric Urology in the Hospital for Sick Children from 1989 to 1992. Upon his return from the UK in 1993, he set up a comprehensive paediatric urology programme in the Prince of Wales Hospital and also helped to establish Hong Kong's first paediatric liver transplantation programme. He received his MD from The Chinese University in 1995. Prof. Yeung has special research interest in paediatric urology, children continence care, and paediatric minimally invasive surgery. No. 226 19th September 2003