Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

HKBU encompasses eight Faculties/Schools offering a range of undergraduate programmes, associate degrees and higher diploma programmes as well as taught postgraduate programmes and research postgraduate programmes leading to the award of master and doctoral degrees. It prides itself on its dual focus on teaching and research and encourages service to society among its staff and students. One of the area of strengths at HKBU is in health and wellness, where we have a world-leading School of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology.
At TechInnovation 2021, we are presenting a series of innovations and solutions for the betterment of your health and wellness.

Our Technology Offers

Quality Control Markers for Use in Herbs Authentication

With an increase in people’s awareness of health, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have become more popular. Among many TCM, Tiepi Shihu (i.e. one of the types of Dendrobium) and Cordyceps sinensis are two of the most expensive products.

Dendrobium is one of the largest genera in the plant family Orchidaceae, and more than 1,100 species of Dendrobium have been identified. Among them, Tiepi Shihu is traditionally recognised as the best Shihu for tonic purposes, such as nourishing the stomach, protecting the throat and eyes. The uncharacteristic appearance and high price of Tiepi Shihu could lead to the occurrence of adulterants, confusion of species and counterfeits. Therefore, authentication and quality analysis of Tiepi Shihu is crucial for ensuring safety and efficacy.

One of the conventional authentication methods greatly depend on the experience of botanical experts and subjective judgement; and the other is based on DNA bio-coding, which is very expensive and time-consuming. These existing methodologies are extremely intricate, difficult and time-consuming, and therefore they are not suitable for routine quality control.

This patented technology aims to target some unique polysaccharide markers which can be successfully applied to the authentication of Tiepi Shihu and Cordyceps products. We have identified that only Tiepi Shihu or Cordyceps sample shows its unique peak in the high molecular size range by using high-performance gel permeation chromatography (HPGPC). Apart from authentication, this method can assess the herb’s quality by distinguishing the quantity of the polysaccharide.

Skin Whitening, Anti-aging and Skin Care Product

Many of us love the warmth and brightness of the sun. However, sun exposure often causes damage to our skin. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, our skin gets darkened, damaged or causes various aesthetic problems, such as wrinkles, blemishes, scarring, freckles and chloasmata. These are due to the oxidative stress, i.e. generation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the epidermal and dermal layers. Occasionally, the UV-induced damages may even lead to the development of melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

The invention is a specific class of natural compounds in a well-known Chinese medicine. The product gives skin whitening effect and improves skin condition. It is safe to use and is now available on the market.

Non-Invasive Early Diagnosis Kit for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men around the world but it is treatable if detected in its early stages. According to Hong Kong Cancer Registry statistics, prostate cancer is the third most common cancer in men and the fifth most fatal cancer.

According to a newsletter “MedicalNewsToday”, approximately 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 years have prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Low-grade PIN is not a cause for concern but high-grade PIN is considered pre-cancerous, and it requires further investigation. Nowadays, the clinical practice is to check serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood levels but the accuracy is quite low.

The technology is a newly developed prostate cancer diagnosis kit that complements the PSA test. It can be used as an additional urine test for patients with PSA test levels within 4-10 ng/ml, which greatly enhance accuracy from 27% to approximately 90%. It is a next-generation diagnostic method for prostate cancer in its early stages and is as simple to use as a pregnancy test strip. This provides a much clearer result for clinicians and patients to decide on further treatment. The new technology has the potential to address the current medical challenge of poor prostate cancer screening outcomes.

Novel Drug for Cancer Diagnostics and Photodynamic Treatment

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is well-known in treating cancer where cancer cells can be safely radiated. This is especially true for cancers like skin cancer, prostate cancer and bladder cancer. However, only a few photosensitizer drugs (PD) for PDT such as Photofrin® Porfimer sodium (Photofrin®), Temoporfin (Foscan®), Motexafin lutetium, Palladium bacteriopheophorbide, Purlytin®, Verteporfin (Visudyne®), Talaporfin (Laserphyrin®) are approved by FDA or under-clinical trials.

Statistics shows that Australia has the highest prevalence of skin cancer and is estimated that 37-55% Australian are affected in the global market study on PDT. The growing prevalence of skin cancer in other countries like the US and the UK is fast and therefore it drives the revenue growth of the PDT market.

In light of large demand in PDs and unmet need for PD’s improvement in terms of cancer cell specificity, depth of light penetration and safety, the technology provider has developed a drug which is used for two-photon absorption photodynamic therapy.

The drug is porphyrin-lanthanide complexes with specific functional groups which are conjugated with carefully chosen peptides so as to increase cancer cells specificity. In-house studies showed that the drug is able to significantly kill cancer cells without attacking normal cells and can give responsive emission for diagnostics.

The technology provider has a portfolio of granted and pending patents in the US, Europe, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. Currently, the technology provider is seeking partners to collaborate and bring this drug to the next stage of clinical trials.

A modified Chinese Medicine formulation for Alzheimer's disease

The impact of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) on society is one of the biggest global challenges as it adversely affects the quality of life of patients. This irreversible disease also poses tremendous physical, emotional, and financial burdens to their family, the community medical system, and the entire social economy.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a few prescription drugs (i.e. Aricept® (donepezil), Exelon® (rivastigmine), Razadyne® (galantamine) and Namenda® (memantine)) for the treatment of AD. These prescription drugs can help reduce or delay some symptoms, but not cure AD.

The possible side effects of these drugs range from mild symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, to severe symptoms that include slow heartbeat, heart block, gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. As stated in the 2012 Consumer Reports, the monthly medication cost of these prescription drugs is around US$200 to US$400 per AD patient.

In light of this, the technology provider has invented a patented formulation by modifying the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formulation, Huang-Lian-Jie-Du-Tang (HLJDT, 黃連解毒湯).

The technology provider’s research findings prove that the modified HLJDT (HLJDT-M) can reduce the accumulation of protein plaques and fibrous nodules (i.e. amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) and tau aggregates) in the brain that leads to rapid death of neurons and deterioration of brain function. HLJDT-M has given more significant therapeutic and pharmacological effects in treating AD with low cost and extremely low side effects.

Drug for Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-associated Cancers

EBV is a ubiquitous human herpes virus, which spreads through saliva. EBV infects over 90% of the human population and can establish life-long persistence in the host. Most people get EBV when they are young, but they will not experience any symptoms until they get older.

There are about 200,000 EBV-associated cancer new cases per year. Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is one of EBV associated cancers which is endemic in a few areas including Southern China, Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Arctic. The highest NPC incidence rate is found in Southern China including Hong Kong. The association of NPC and EBV is nearly 100% in endemic areas. Unfortunately, more than 80% of the new NPC cases are diagnosed in stage III or IV, while the survival rate of stage IV NPC is only 38%. Early detection and treatment would help to increase survival rate.

This invention is a new EBV-specific targeted agent which selectively kills cancer cells without affecting any normal cells. The uptake of this drug can also be traced by the fluorescent signal that can be used for cancer cells imaging.

Currently, there is no single agent that can both image and kill NPC cancer cells at the same time.

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