Newsletter No. 108

HONOURS FOR TWO PROFESSORS ‧ New Emeritus Professor On the recommendation of the Senate and i n accordance w i t h Statute 21 of the University Ordinance, the University Council has approved the title of Emeritus Professor of Computer Science and Engineering to P r o f. Chen Tien-chi from 30th April 1997. Prof. Chen has been awarded the title in recognition of his outstanding academic achievements and distinguished service to the University. He joined the University in 1979 and was appointed professor of computer science and electronics in 1980. He was acting dean of science in 1989 and head of United College for two terms from 1981 to 1988. Apart from making significant contributions to University administration and the development of United College, Prof. Chen has been very active in research and public service. He owns many patents in the' area of computer development and application, and has rendered his professional service to many public bodies. Prof. Chen retired from service at the University on 31st July 1992. ‧ Recipient of US National Medal of Science Prof. S.T. Yau, professor of mathematics, is among the nine winners of this year's US National Medal of Science, which is the Un i t ed States' equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The National Medal of Science was established by the US Congress in 1959 to honour outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, sociology or other behavioural sciences. Fields medallist in 1982 and recipient of the prestigious Crafoord Prize in 1994, Prof. Yau has been chosen f or the award because of his p r o f ound contributions to mathematics that have had a great impact on fields as diverse as topology, algebraic geometry, general relativity, and string theory. His work insightfully combines two different mathematical approaches and has resulted in the solution of several long-standing and important problems m mathematics. Prof. Yau will be presented the medal by the US President this fall. Mainland and Local Experts in Chinese Medicine Exchange Views T he seminar 'Chinese Med i c i ne 一 Educa t i on, Research and Application' was held at the Cho Y in Conference Ha l l on 2nd May to discuss recent developments in Chinese medicine education. The seminar was attended by delegates from the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who related their experience in teaching Chinese medicine and promoting Chinese medicine by research. Prof. Leung Ping-chung, chairman of the University's Planning Commi t t ee on the Chinese Med i c i ne Programme, and Prof. Y. C. Kong from the Department of Biochemistry spoke on local tertiary education in Chinese medicine. Other researchers from CUHK gave presentations on the application of Chinese medicine. Topics included 'Immunomodulatory and Anti-cancer Chinese Medicine', 'Ganoderma, Coriolus and Other Med i c i nal Mushrooms', 'Authentication, Quality Control, and Safety of Chinese Medicine', 'Application of Gene Cloning', and 'Drug Quitting by Acupuncture Treatment'. Prof. Ar t hur K.C. L i , vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. L i Renxian, president of the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mr. Weng X in Qiao, head of the Department of Education, Science and Technology of the Xinhua News Agency (Hong Kong Branch), and Mr. Tam Ling-kwan, chairman of the subcommittee on Chinese medicine of Hong Kong's Preparatory Committee of Chinese Medicine, addressed the gathering at the opening ceremony. Investigating New Treatment and Genetic Causes of Breast Cancer A sample of screening results showing gene mutation B reast cancer, the second most common cancer and cause of cancer-related deaths among Hong Kong women, is the subject of an international study involving 30 medical centres worldwide. Led by Dr. Nicholas Wickham of the University's Department of Clinical Oncology, the study investigates a novel treatment for the disease 一 high-dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell support. It is carried out by the University, the Sir Yue Kong Pao Cancer Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital, and the International Breast Cancer Study Group on High-Dose Chemotherapy with Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Support. Recent studies suggest that high doses of chemotherapy— double to triple the dosage used in traditional treatment—may be more effective than surgery f or pre-menopausal and ' y oung' post-menopausal breast cancer patients with over five affected lymph nodes under the arm. But high doses of chemotherapy are toxic to the blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow, and may result in serious anaemia, infections, and bleeding. To protect the stem cells, patients are first injected with a 'stem cell growth factor', a drag which stimulates the production of stem cells. Thereafter, in a three-day procedure, a cell-separator is used to take blood from the patient, which is then centrifuged to separate the heavier red cells from the white cells. The latter containing the stem cells are removed and frozen in liquid nitrogen. After each of the three courses of high-dose chemotherapy, the stem cells are returned to the patient via transfusion. The University is also conducting research on the genetic causes of breast cancer. A team comprising staff from the Department of Surgery and the Department of Clinical Oncology is studying the role of Breast Cancer Gene Mutation (BRCA1) in Hong Kong women with sporadic, early onset, or familial breast cancer. The study aims to enhance the understanding of the distribution of genetic mutations of the breast cancer gene in the Chinese population, and allow definitive early diagnosis at the genetic level. To disseminate the latest information on the subject, the Hong Kong International Breast Cancer Conference was held at the Prince of Wales Hospital on 26th and 27th Ap r il Breast cancer specialists from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan presented their research findings and recent advances in breast cancer management.