CUHK medical research receives recognition by top medical journal
From left: Prof. Allen Chan, Prof. Dennis Lo and Prof. Tony Mok
Two studies led by professors in the CUHK Faculty of Medicine are among the 10 most ‘Notable Articles of 2017’ of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The Journal, which is the oldest continuously published medical periodical, and also the most widely read, cited, and influential general medical journal in the world, receives an average of 5,000 research submissions each year and publishes only the top 5%.
From among all the papers published in 2017, the editorial board picked 10 papers which they found the most meaningful in improving medical practice and patient care to the world. Only two of the 10 listed studies were led by scholars based in Asia, and both of them are from CUHK.
The first notable CUHK article is ‘Osimertinib or Platinum–Pemetrexed in EGFR T790M–Positive Lung Cancer’, a multinational study led by Prof. Tony Mok, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology and Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology. The study transformed the practice of lung cancer treatment and marked a new milestone in personalised medicine development for lung cancer.
The other notable article is ‘Analysis of Plasma Epstein–Barr Virus DNA to Screen for Nasopharyngeal Cancer’ led by Prof. Allen Chan of the Department of Chemical Pathology, and Prof. Dennis Lo, Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology. This is a landmark study on over 20,000 people which demonstrated that plasma Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA analysis is useful for screening early asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Prof. Lo, renowned for his discovery of the presence of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma, has been working to apply circulating DNA analysis for screening early cancers. He said, ‘This study has demonstrated the potential of circulating DNA analysis for screening early NPC. We will continue to develop this technology to develop screening tests for other types of cancer, and to benefit more people.’
The Department of Clinical Oncology at CUHK is an integrated academic and clinical unit providing state-of-the-art cancer care ranging from active treatment, to palliative and psychosocial care and hospice services in both inpatient and outpatient settings, through a multidisciplinary approach, by a dedicated team of medical oncologists, haematological oncologists, radiation oncologists/clinical oncologists, palliative medicine specialists, nurses, radiation therapists, medical physicists, clinical pharmacists and other allied health professionals.
The Department Chemical Pathology at CUHK is one of the few independent departments of Chemical Pathology in the world, with the mission to advance the science and practice of chemical pathology by education, research and clinical service. It has academic interests in several fields of studies. Among these are molecular diagnostics, plasma nucleic acid biology and applications, genomic basis of diseases, diagnostic applications of next-generation DNA sequencing, allergic diseases, inborn errors of metabolism, bioinformatics, and stem cell and regeneration.
The Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences aims to provide an environment conducive to cutting-edge scientific research and technological innovations in the life sciences. Research areas of the Institute include the clinical applications of human and microbial genomics, cancer research, digestive diseases, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and obesity, and stem cells and tissue regeneration.