Digestive malignancies, including gastric, colorectal, liver and esophageal cancers as well as leukemias and lymphomas, are major health burdens in Asian countries. Today, gastrointestinal and liver cancers are becoming more common across Asia due to population aging, growth, and a rise in risk factors ranging from oncogenic pathogen infections to increased smoking and obesity.
Under the auspices of the InnoHK initiative, the Centre for Oncology and Immunology aims to harness the power of biotechnology to develop innovative therapies to combat these hard-to-treat malignancies and bring hope to millions of cancer patients around the world.
The Centre's research team comprises globally renowned researchers who bring with them a wealth of complementary expertise and experience in oncology research, technology adoption, and commercialisation. Individually, their research programs have led to major breakthroughs, including the devising of immunotherapy and checkpoint inhibition strategies that have been adopted as anti-cancer treatments, the establishment of next-generation organoid-based cell models for precision oncology, and the development of a diagnostic test for Lynch Syndrome (hereditary colon cancer).
The Centre will employ novel functional screens as well as genomic and proteomic techniques to identify novel "druggable" cancer targets. Leveraging the translational and clinical trial expertise of its lead scientists, the Centre will establish a number of advanced technical platforms to facilitate its overall goal of bringing candidate drugs and novel immunotherapy approaches into clinics.
As an international business hub at the heart of Asia, Hong Kong encourages collaborations between renowned research institutes and global pharmaceutical companies. Building on the city's robust healthcare system and diligent compliance with the research ethics requirements for the use of clinical samples, it will facilitate the Centre's aspiration to make Hong Kong a leading nexus of innovative anti-cancer drug discovery and production.