Oncology experts gather in Hong Kong to share insights and know-how on early cancer diagnosis
On behalf of the organisers, Professor Tony Mok, Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Right), presented certificates of gratitude to the guests of honour, Mr. Leon Wang, EVP, International & China President of AstraZeneca (China), Mr. Zhi-ming Liu, Deputy Inspector, Department of Educational, Scientific Technological Affairs, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR and Mrs. Fanny Law, Chairperson of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation.(From left to right)
Group photo of Mrs. Fanny Law, Chairperson of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, Professor Tony Mok, Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Mr. Tony Yung, Chief Executive of Sanomics, the scientific partner of the conference (Second from the right) as well as the guest of honour and the speakers at the conference.
(Hong Kong, 25 July 2017) - Oncology scientists, medical practitioners, carers and healthcare administrators gathered at Hong Kong Science Park on 22 July 2017 in order to share insights, know-how and experience in the treatment of lung cancer and the use of precision medicine technology at the conference titled “Precision Medicine and High Quality Biomarker Testing in Asia”.
The event was held at Hong Kong Science Park and was co-organised by Hong Kong Cancer Therapy Society, the Hong Kong Association of Community Oncologists, the Hong Kong Society of Clinical Oncology, and supported by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and AstraZeneca. The Scientific Collaboration Partner of the conference is Sanomics Ltd., a start-up in Hong Kong Science Park specialising in blood-based genomics technologies for cancer patients.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, claiming more than 1.6 million lives each year – more than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. Not only smokers get lung cancer but about 51%1 of the world’s lung cancer cases occur in Asia , while it accounts for 21%2 of cancer deaths in the region . In addition to the current treatment approaches precision medication uses DNA analysis for early detection of cancer and to identify therapies that are tailored for individual patients has become an emerging added solution in the cure of lung cancer.
The well-timed conference drew experts in Asia to discuss and examine the progress of high quality biomarker testing in the region. It also put heavy emphasis on the need for collaboration and why Hong Kong, with its expertise in precision medicine, genome analysis and nano-technology in the field of cancer management, is a natural regional hub for research, development, clinical application and investments in this field.
Genomics biomarkers essential for personalised cancer management
Mrs. Fanny Law, Chairperson of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, in an opening address at the conference, said advances in precision medicine have transformed healthcare and treatment of diseases. Predictive diagnosis and personalised treatment tailored to each person’s genetic makeup and the genetic profile of the tumour can enhance efficacy and minimise adverse effects.
“Precision medicine faces many challenges in clinical application and this requires collaboration between all stakeholders,” said Mrs. Law. “The therapeutic prospects of precision medicine are enticing, spurring enterprising researches around the world. Today genetic testing is available for over 2,000 clinical conditions and the number of available diagnostic test is increasing exponentially.”
Mr. Tony Yung, Chief Executive of Sanomics, said: “Our work on precision medicine effectively supports the decision-making of oncologists based on information about genetic alternations in tumour DNA. Once clinically significant genetic alternations are identified, specific treatments can be aimed at the tumours. These have a much higher chance of achieving desirable clinical outcomes.”
Hong Kong has a key role in research and dissemination of knowledge on cancer
“The uniqueness of Sanomics’ approach is making use of bodily fluids, such as blood, to screen for genetic alternations when tumour tissues are not available. We call it “liquid biopsy”, which is faster, less risky, more convenient and more practical in the clinical setting. We are now building Asia’s first hub for liquid biopsy here in Hong Kong, and will lead the region in the use of genomics for personalized management of cancer,” said Mr. Yung. “The breakthroughs we achieved not only exemplify the research and development excellence of Hong Kong’s biomedical experts but also our strengths to identify and resolve challenges for the Asia healthcare sector.”
Hong Kong Science Park has more than 80 biotechnology companies with business scope that spreads across medical devices, research on stem cells, genomics and regenerative medicine, molecular diagnosis, as well as R&D on Chinese and Western medicines. All of these, in their differing ways, contribute to an ecosystem that’s highly conducive to research. Importantly, clinical data from Hong Kong is recognised by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) for registration and approval purposes, making it an ideal testing ground for emerging therapies and devices.
“A year ago, the CFDA accredited two phase 1 clinical trial centres in Hong Kong and accepted clinical trial data from Hong Kong for registration and approval purposes,” said Mrs. Law. “Looking to the future, we must all seize the opportunities arising from the Hong Kong Shenzhen Innovation Technology Park along the border between the two cities and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area to enlarge Hong Kong’s capacity for biomedical research and development to meet the growing demand for better health care for the ageing population both in Hong Kong and Mainland China.”
“Our aspiration is for the Greater Bay Area to be an innovation hub with global impact. And within this area, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park will be a powerhouse of research where great minds from Mainland China, Hong Kong and the rest of the world meet and work together,” continued Mrs Law.
Besides Mrs. Law and Mr. Yung, other keynote speakers at the conference included: Prof. Tony Mok, Chairman, Department of Clinical Oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Mr. Leon Wang, EVP, International & China President of AstraZeneca (China); and Prof. Yilong Wu, Director of Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute and Vice-president of Guangdong General Hospital (China).
1 Source: World Cancer Report 2014.Steward, Bernard and Wild, Christopher (eds). (2014)
2 Source: World Health Organization. Globocan 2012: Estimated Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide in 2012 (2015): http://globocan.iarc.fr/Pages/fact_sheets_cancer.aspx.