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Transforming Healthcare: Molecular Probes for Diagnostic Imaging

Image Credits: HKBU, Press Release

The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has received a donation of HK$10 million to establish the “JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes,” dedicated to driving interdisciplinary research and advancements in molecular probes for their application as cutting-edge diagnostic imaging tools. This initiative aims to facilitate the translation of these probes into practical use in biomedical and clinical settings.

Additionally, the laboratory will provide comprehensive training opportunities to researchers associated with the facility and its collaborative partners, specifically in the areas of probe design, synthesis, and validation. By addressing the scarcity of talent in this field within Hong Kong and southern China, this initiative seeks to contribute to the overall growth and development of diagnostic probe technologies in the region.

Professor David Parker, a distinguished chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of London has assumed leadership of the laboratory. In October 2022, Professor Parker joined HKBU as part of the Global STEM Professorship Scheme, which is backed by the HKSAR Government. This scheme aims to attract exceptional global talent to contribute to the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and research in Hong Kong.

The President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU expressed deep appreciation to the donators for their contribution towards the establishment of the JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes. He emphasised the donator’s dedication to enhancing the quality of life and well-being of the Hong Kong community. He is confident in the laboratory’s potential to develop cutting-edge diagnostic tools, drive research advancements, foster knowledge transfer partnerships, engage in public education, support youth initiatives, and contribute to community health. The wide-ranging impact of these endeavours is expected to bring significant societal benefits.

The primary focus of the “JC STEM Lab of ChemProbes” will centre around the advancement of rare-earth-based molecular probes as bio-imaging agents. These probes will be specifically designed for optical imaging applications in pre-clinical cellular and tissue studies.

The ultimate goal is to develop probes that can be widely employed in various diagnostic and optical imaging protocols, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Through collaborations with academic and industrial partners, the laboratory aspires to facilitate the translation of these innovative probes for human applications in the future.

The development and subsequent commercialisation of novel imaging and diagnostic tools have the potential to revolutionise disease diagnosis, while also addressing the limitations and drawbacks associated with existing clinical diagnostic protocols.

By introducing more precise and efficient diagnostic tools, the aim is to enhance the accuracy of disease detection and mitigate any adverse side effects that may arise from current practices. Furthermore, the availability of advanced diagnostic tools can contribute to the overall well-being of the community by enabling individuals to regularly monitor their physical health status, ultimately promoting a healthier society.

The market size of the Diagnostic Imaging industry was valued at US$26.1 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach US$39.9 billion by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from 2022 to 2030.

Diagnostic imaging encompasses a diverse range of techniques used to visualise the human body for the purpose of diagnosing, monitoring, or treating medical conditions. Each imaging modality provides specific information about the targeted body part, including signs of illness, injuries, or the effectiveness of medical interventions.

The growth of the Global Diagnostic Imaging Market can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing elderly population, widespread adoption of advanced medical imaging technologies, technological advancements in the field, growing demand for improved optical imaging for enhanced health and disease diagnosis, and a rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases.


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