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M. D. Anderson Announces Collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong


East-West Partnership to Advance Translational Cancer Research, Education and Patient Care
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center today signed a sister institution agreement with the Sir Y.K. Pao Centre for Cancer and Hong Kong Cancer Institute at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), formalizing existing collaborations between the two cancer centers based on their shared missions of scientific discovery, patient therapies, education and prevention.

The institutions have identified nasopharyngeal carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and glioma as initial research areas of focus. Additionally, the collaboration aims to establish a Clinical Trial Network among China, East Asia, and M. D. Anderson, and educational exchange programs for post-graduate students, clinical fellows and oncology nurses with onsite training opportunities at CUHK.

M. D. Anderson’s vice president of Global Academic Programs, Karen K. Fields, M.D., joined Anthony T.C. Chan, M.D., director of the Cancer Center at CUHK and professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology at the signing ceremony at Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin, the New Territories. The event culminated a day-long symposium featuring presentations from faculty at both institutions on personalized cancer medicine, and nasopharyngeal, lung and brain cancers, among others.

Since opening in 1995, the Cancer Center at CUHK has established a reputation as a leader in cancer care, research and education in southern China and the eastern Asian regions and is noted for research and treatment of Asia-prevalent cancers, including cancers of the nasopharynx, liver, lung and gastrointestinal systems.

“The Chinese University of Hong Kong has renowned clinical and academic research programs and remarkable therapeutic expertise,” said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. “The new partnership will create and support more opportunities for innovative cancer research collaborations to ultimately reduce the incidence of cancer and suffering among patients globally.”

Cancer is the number one cause of death in China. In 2005, approximately 1,892,000 people died from cancer and the number of new cases is increasing at a rapid rate, especially in densely populated Southern provinces. Compared with other countries, China and Hong Kong have the highest incidence of hepatocelullar carcinoma (HCC) and nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) in the world, respectively. The incidence of other cancers prevalent in China, such as lung, gastric and esophageal cancers, also rank among the top 10 in the world.

“The alarming rise in cancer rates in rural and urban provinces of China underscores the great need for collaboration among the world’s leading cancer programs,” said Professor Chan. “Our sister agreement with M. D. Anderson will enable us to expand our existing academic and educational partnership and increase the active sharing of knowledge and clinical experiences to better understand and treat the disease.”

The sister agreement builds on five years of collaborative investigations among researchers and clinicians at both institutions in the areas of nasopharyngeal cancers; viruses in patients with virus-associated and related cancers; and physician exchanges and educational activities including annual educational seminars (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and clinical fellowship programs with the departments of Radiation Oncology and Neuro-oncology.

The signing ceremony and workshop was attended by Dr. Fields and M. D. Anderson faculty members including W. K. Alfred Yung, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neuro-Oncology; Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Systems Biology; Li Mao, M.D., professor, Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology; and T.J. Liu, Ph.D., project manager for Global Academic Programs. Participants representing the China University of Hong Kong included Professor Anthony T.C. Chan; Tai Fai Fok, Dean, Faculty of Medicine; Ho Keung Ng, Associate Dean (Education); Y.M. Dennis Lo, Associate Dean (Research); Wai Sang Poon, chief of the Division of Neurosurgery; Andrew van Hasselt, chairman of the Department of Surgery; Allen K.C. Chan, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Pathology; Tony S.K. Mok, professor, Department of Clinical Oncology; Nathalie Wong, professor, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology; and Vivian W.Y. Lui, assistant professor, Department of Clinical Oncology.

To date, M. D. Anderson has established sister institution relationships with 18 premier academic and clinical cancer centers around the world, and partnered with the Department of State on a similar breast cancer initiatives in the Middle East and the South Americas. Experts from all international sister and breast cancer partner institutions gathered in Houston in June for M. D. Anderson’s annual Global Academic Program Conference.


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