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HKBU and MedTech firm to partner on cell therapy research

mage Credits: HKBU, Press Release

The Department of Biology at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with a Hong Kong-based investment holding company principally engaged in medical businesses.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two partners will jointly conduct in-depth research in the area of cell therapy and will focus in particular on the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases using stem cell harvest technology developed at HKBU.

As part of the collaboration, the MedTech firm will contribute a sum of HK$15 million to HKBU in support of a contract research related to cell culture technology and cell therapies that can potentially treat neurodegenerative and other incurable diseases.

This five-year in-depth research project will be conducted by a research team led by a professor from the Department of Biology at HKBU.

It is expected that the collaboration between HKBU and MedTech firm will develop a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The results are expected to benefit patients not only in the Greater China Region but also the world.

Neurodegenerative diseases are mainly caused by the death or degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. According to statistics published in 2015, over 100 million people worldwide suffer from neurodegenerative diseases. As populations around the world continue to age, it is predicted that more than 20% of the global population (around 2 billion people) will be aged 60 or above by 2050.

As a result, the number of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases will increase drastically and pose a threat to public health. At present, the drugs available to treat neurodegenerative diseases are not very effective and have many harmful side effects. Therefore, cell therapy is regarded as the most promising cure for such diseases.

The Department of Biology is committed to conducting cell therapy research for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. A series of the internationally influential research has been published and in some cases successfully commercialised.

The MedTech firm is an integrated healthcare enterprise in mainland China. It has established dominant positions in the medical devices and hospital market in the healthcare industry.

HKBU revolutionising MedTech

In the last 6 months alone HKBU has been paving the way in revolutionary biotechnology.

In December 2018, an HKBU student-developed software for severely disabled people. The student, in the Master of Science program in Advanced Information Systems, developed voice-control computer software for severely disabled people in spite of his own physical and speech disabilities, OpenGov Aisa reported.

The software, named “Cerebral Palsy to Joy (CP2Joy)”, is the first human-computer interface for severely disabled people in Hong Kong. It will enable those with severe disabilities to use the internet on their own, thereby reducing the digital divide.

Then in January 2019, OpenGov Asia reported that the University’s scholars had developed the first-ever system for rapid antibiotic resistance testing and analysis.

The new technology can provide information about drug-resistant pathogens present in patients, enabling doctors to accurately determine the effectiveness and appropriate dosage of antibiotics needed for effective treatment.

The new fully-automated system is 10-20 times faster, more accurate and can also be run at a much lower cost than the current AST methods which are only available in professional medical laboratories.

It is expected that the invention will aid diagnosis by providing doctors with a precise prescription which will significantly reduce the chance of antibiotic abuse or misuse. The team is planning to commercialise the system so that more people can benefit from the development.

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