Scientific research conducted at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has garnered numerous awards in international competitions in recent years. Professor Gary Wong Ka Leung, Head of the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, is among those honoured to have gained two awards at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. Professor Wong is a leading figure in the field of lanthanide-based complexes and materials used for fundamental photochemistry, spectroscopy, and bio-imaging applications. In 2015, he received the Junior Award from the European Rare-Earth and Actinide Society, the first such awardee in Asia’s universities. What’s more, his research continues to make breakthroughs, applying new technologies to cancer diagnosis and treatment. He is also dedicated to the practical application of his scientific and technical research and has established a company to carry it forward, exhibiting a scientist’s dedication to bringing benefit to people through research. Hence, Professor Wong is richly deserved of HKBU’s newly appointed Endowed Professorship – the Dr. Mok Man Hung Endowed Professor in Chemistry.
Revolutionary research for prostate cancer diagnosis
Professor Wong’s research facilitates the prompt diagnosis of prostate cancer, dubbed "Men’s Fatal Disease". This cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide, with more than 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year. Statistics from the Department of Health revealed that prostate cancer is ranked as the third most common cancer in Hong Kong, with over 2,500 new cases each year and with incidence of the disease climbing the fastest in the decade from 2009. Since there are no obvious symptoms of the disease in its early stage, more than half of the patients are diagnosed at the middle to late stage, which affects the effectiveness of therapies. Therefore, early diagnosis can considerably enhance the efficacy of treatment. Professor Wong’s research team developed a revolutionary technique that requires only a urine sample from the patient for testing. "When compared with traditional testing methods like rectal or blood testing, such a non-invasive testing approach is convenient, quick and accurate. The invention represents a substantial advancement in the local diagnosis of prostate cancer." This patented test is now available in private clinics and it is planning to make it available in public hospitals in the future.
Professor Wong’s research team was able to develop this new technology successfully since they found that the concentration of urinary polyamines in human urine is closely related to the risk of prostate cancer. They first developed an aptasensor capable of detecting urinary polyamine in liquid and then used this sensor to develop a highly sensitive complex to accurately detect the concentration of urinary polyamine in urine samples, thereby diagnosing the risk of those tested getting prostate cancer.
Professor Wong explained why he is dedicated to his research on prostate cancer diagnosis, "The traditional way of diagnosing prostate cancer was in the form of the digital rectal examination which caused embarrassment and pain to patients. Asian men generally do not speak out when they feel unwell, putting them off immediate medical treatments." Professor Wong’s new inspection method is highly accurate and avoids unnecessary biopsies for patients, thereby reducing their concerns; and its convenience enables patients to undertake regular checkups and result in early diagnosis.
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[Source: HKBU Foundation eNews]