Newsletter No. 25

CUHK Newsletter Vol. 2-12 No. 25 December 1991 University News Liver resection Picture of a resected liver cancer Interna l Irradiatio n t o Trea tLive rCance r A team o f doctors from th e University a t th e Prince o f Wales Hospital have successfully developed a new method o f treating inoperable liver cancer. This i s a major breakthrough which will result i n many lives being prolonged. Liver cancer i s th e second commonest cause o f death among male cancer patients in Hong Kong. Normally surgical resection gives the best chance o f cure, but symptoms of the disease are usually not apparent until the terminal stage, and many patients di e within three months of diagnosis. Existing techniques like blocking th e blood supply, embolization, immunotherapy, an d alcohol injection ma y alleviate symptoms but cannot prolong lives. External radiotherapy has little part to play here because the dosage that can effectively kill the cancer cells will also damage th e normal liver tissues that surround the tumour. The University's Joint Hepatoma Clinic consisting o f hepatologists, oncologists, radiologists, an d surgeons have now developed a new technique o f selective internal irradiation t o target radioactive isotopes towards the liver tumour. Radioisotopes (either Yttrium-90- microspheres o r Lipiodol-I-131) will b e injected into th e feeding artery o f the tumour. They will go preferentially t o and stay with th e tumour, and emit irradiation t o kill the cancerous cells. Th e normal tissues in the liver will receive only a relatively small and safe amount of irradiation. Initial results o f this novel treatment ar e encouraging because tumours so treated are found to have regressed i n size. There is also a dramatic lowering o f th e serum level of alpha-foetal protein (a specific marker o f liver cancer) i n patients. The group of doctors at the Prince o f Wales Hospital are now considered leading experts i n this field. VC' sFift hOpe nLette r on Globa lLinkage s Prof. Charles K. Kao issued his fifth open letter t o all staff and students on 28th November. In the letter, the vice-chancellor emphasizes th e importance of global linkages to the development of this university. The letter begins with a brief description o f th e new challenges faced b y tertiary education worldwide, which have caused many universities, CUHK being one o f th m, to revamp their curricula and introduce new teaching approaches. The vice-chancellor then goes on to explain ho w staff an d student exchanges with overseas institutions will benefit both th e individuals concerned and the University as a whole, and how linkage to a worldwide community o f universities is essential for the maintenance of high academic standards. H e urges al l staff and students to make good use of th e services o f th e Office o f Academic Links, which has been newly established t o provide administrative support fo r international exchange programmes and to handle academic linkage matters. The vice-chancellor ends hi s open letter by quoting examples o f existing linkages with institutions in the USA, Canada, and the UK, and new possibilities that ca n b e explored. 1