and found toffect anchorage independent growth abilities, cell migration and induces apoptosis, a form of programmed cell destruction.
The efficacy of using plasma EBV DNA detection for the diagnosis of EBV infection was studied in NPC patients undergoing concurrent radiotherapy and chemotherapy (RT/CRT) treatment. Patients with undetectable EBV DNA are expected to continue having undetectable EBV DNA at the end of the course of their RT/CRT, resulting in a positive prognosis. However, a proportion of patients with detectable EBV DNA at week 4 of their treatment are likely to have residual EBV DNA at the end of RT/CRT and the likelihood of ongoing NPC.
The Centre has also identified a potentially novel treatment for recurrent local NPC. A new photodynamic therapy (PDT) drug, Zn-BC-AM, has been synthesized. Its usefulness as a potential therapeutic agent, killing cancerous cells by apoptosis and cytokine recruitment, has been demonstrated on animals.
Discussing these developments, principal investigator, Centre Director and Chair Professor of Biology at HKUST, Maria Li Lung commented, "We are currently shortlisted for a NPC Area of Excellence proposal. This will include 23 members from HKUST, HKU, CUHK, and HKBU. Our aim is to coordinate basic cancer studies, NPC genomics and epigenetics, EBV diagnostics and therapeutic developments to better understand the molecular basis for NPC, develop biomarkers for its diagnosis and identify useful targets for molecular therapies. Understanding how the disruption of chromosomal stability, DNA replication and cell cycles contribute to cancer development and finding the genes contributing to NPC development will help to improve current treatment options, alleviate and reverse the side effects of radiotherapy treatment, and offer novel therapeutic options. We hope that this HK-wide consortium dedicated to NPC research, will allow us to translate our basic findings into clinically useful applications that will improve the treatment and survival of NPC patients."
Prof. Maria Li Lung
Department of Biology,
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology