Annual Report 2017–18

精研探微 格物知新 Exceeding the Limits of Today for a New Tomorrow 25 Stimulating Growth of Nerve Cells A team led by Prof. Lau Kwok-fai of the School of Life Sciences (top photo) discovered a novel mechanism that stimulates neurite outgrowth or the growth of nerve cell projections. The team found out that the interactions of the two proteins FE65 and ELMO1 can stimulate neurite outgrowth by at least two times, bringing hope for re-connection of injured neurons. Their findings may shed light on neurite regeneration as a treatment for traumatic brain injuries and neurodegenerative disorders. Combating Psychiatric Disorders A research teamledby Prof. SoHon-cheongof the School of Biomedical Sciences generated a list of drugs that may treat psychiatric disorders by applying the bioinformatics approach to analysing data from the genome-wide association studies of seven psychiatric disorders and the expression profiles of 1,309 existing drugs. The new approach may be applied to other complex diseases, especially those with few known treatments, providing additional choices of medications. Early Detection of Alzheimer’s The Division of Neurology of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics and theDepartment ofOphthalmology andVisual Science, together with the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital, launched the ‘Screening for Early Alzheimer’s Disease Study’ to investigate if retinal imaging and blood biomarkers can be used for identifying patients with early cognitive decline within the Chinese population. Currently, every one in 10 inhabitants over 70 years old suffers from dementia, but the diagnosing of early dementia can be invasive. If successful, retinal imaging could allow for more efficient and safer early detection of dementia. The study was funded by Seeds Foundation Limited and the Health and Medical Research Fund (Food and Health Bureau). 刺激神經細胞生長 生命科學學院劉國輝教授及其團隊(上 圖)發現了刺激神經突生長的新機制,證明 FE65和ELMO1此兩種蛋白的相互作用可以 刺激神經突生長最少兩倍,未來或可藉此連 接受損神經網絡。該項研究探索如何刺激神 經突再生,以修復腦部損傷及治療神經退化 性疾病。 治療精神病 生物醫學學院蘇漢昌教授帶領的研究隊 伍,利用生物信息分析方法,藉分析表達圖 譜,對比七種主要精神病的基因排序變異和 1,309種不同類型藥物的表達特性,以找出 可能治療該七種精神病的藥物。其他較少治 療方案的疾病日後也可用此方法尋找藥物。 老人認知障礙症早期診斷 內科及藥物治療學系腦神經科、眼科及視覺 科學學系、養和醫院等,合作進行「早期阿 茲海默症篩查研究」,探索視網膜影像技術 及血液測試,是否適用於華人老人認知障礙 症的早期診斷。現時本港七十歲以上長者 每十人即有一位認知障礙患者。早期檢測方 法具入侵性,而倘若視網膜影像技術研究 成功,則能提供具效率及安全的診斷方法。 此項研究由種子基金有限公司及醫療衞生 研究基金(食物及衞生局)資助。 劉國輝教授(前左)及其團隊 Prof. Lau Kwok-fai (front left) and his team