↑Professor Vivian Chan Nap-yee (front row, 3rd from left) and academic staff of the Department of Medicine in 1985 陳立怡教授(前排左三) 及內科學系教職員攝於 1985年 ↓Professor Yuen Man-fung (left) Chair Professor and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, SClinMed 臨床醫學學院內科學系腸胃肝臟科主管及講座教授袁孟峰教授(左) Finding New Solutions For much of the Department’s first 50 years, research focused on clinical cases. But as medical science advanced and new tools became available, it became clear there was much to be gained by focusing on bench-side research, too. In 1974, Professor McFadzean recruited the Department’s first scientist, Professor Vivian Chan Nap-yee, who was instrumental in establishing novel molecular biological techniques for better patient management and treatment. From that initial start, scientific research has expanded exponentially in the Department, helped by the establishment of the Research Grants Council in 1991 and, in particular, by a strengthening research culture over the past couple of decades. The result has been a string of important discoveries across the divisions that have improved patient outcomes – work that continues to this day. For instance, Professor Yuen Man-fung and his team in the Division of Hepatology recently helped one in 10 patients achieve a functional cure in a Phase II clinical trial of the drug bepirovirsen. A Phase III trial is underway with the goal of aiming for 30 per cent success. Earlier, they showed that 7.8 per cent of the Hong Kong population carries the hepatitis B virus, many of them unaware of this. They also showed that entecavir is effective in suppressing the virus and decreasing liver failure, which informed the World Health Organization’s aim to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Innovations have also been made in cancer treatments. For instance, the Department was the first in the world to pioneer the use of an oral formulation of arsenic trioxide for treating acute promyelocytic leukaemia that was awarded the Gold Medal at the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2018 and for which there are multiple patents. There is also a new HK$42 million Theme-based Research project, to develop personalised and innovative treatments for acute myeloid leukaemia. 7 HKUMed News Winter 2023