If you were to ask people which pest they hate the most, many would answer “cockroaches”, not only because of their unpleasant appearance but also because they can trigger allergic reactions such as asthma. Fortunately, a CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine team is producing the world’s most comprehensive genome profile of the American cockroach, aiding future diagnosis of cockroach allergy.
We all love to take photos, whether it’s to capture a special moment or to immortalise some beautiful scenery. Taking photos can also have far more serious purposes, though: for example, photos of your eyes can be used to detect Alzheimer’s disease. CUHK’s Faculty of Medicine has developed the world’s first AI model that can detect the disease solely through so-called fundus photographs: images of the retina.
The bed you lie in, the food you eat - mites are everywhere. For people with mite allergy, they are devils causing itchy skins, shortness of breath, or even triggering severe diseases. Fortunately, a CUHK team has observed the unusual phenomenon on the evolution of astigmatic mites, laying the genomic groundwork for diagnosing and intervening in some dangerous human mite allergies.
The COVID-19 virus is mutating rapidly. As subvariants like BA.4 and BA.5 emerge, we must act fast to curb the pandemic. Vaccination is the most effective way to control epidemic, but the protection it offers declines as the virus evolves. Predicting vaccine effectiveness in a short time frame is key to winning this battle. CUHK researchers have developed a bioinformatics platform that can provide a snapshot of vaccine effectiveness in real time, instead of it taking months.
An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and staying up late are common habits that can damage our livers. The liver is known as a silent organ: symptoms of liver failure do not typically show up until they develop into severe fibrosis, cirrhosis or even cancer. A team from CUHK is developing a non-invasive imaging method to detect biochemical symptoms associated with early-stage liver fibrosis, increasing the chances of successful treatment.
Cancer is a group of diseases that we are taking kinds of strategies to overcome at the moment. Our bodies are made up of countless cells, and cancer cells are the result of mutations of normal ones. Although its causes are not yet fully understood, studying the mechanisms of cancer cell proliferation allows us to understand cancer better and create new treatments. A team from CU Medicine has just identified a novel oncogene in gastric cancer, giving rise to the development of a new anti-cancer therapy.
CU Medicine has conducted what is, to date, the largest sample (about 100 million subjects), worldwide study of 24 combinations of COVID-19 vaccines covering seven vaccine types. It shows that, whilst three doses of an mRNA vaccine greatly reduce COVID-19 infection risks in immunocompromised and elderly patients compared to only two doses of vaccines of any kind, an mRNA booster to two doses of any other vaccine protects them against non-severe COVID-19 infections. Very importantly, say the findings, a third dose of mRNA vaccine is necessary to protect against Omicron infection.
Professor Mei-Po KWAN from CUHK’s Department of Geography and Resource Management has been awarded the James R. Anderson Medal of Honor in Applied Geography, the highest honour in the field, for her multidisciplinary contributions to applied geography; while Professor YU Jun from the Faculty of Medicine has been awarded the Guanghua Engineering Science and Technology Award by the Chinese Academy of Engineering in recognition of her distinguished achievements in gastrointestinal cancer studies.
The Microbiota I-Centre of CUHK has identified distinct gut microbiome profiles that can characterise “long COVID”. This is the world’s first study to demonstrate gut microbiota as a key determinant of long COVID. These distinct gut microbial signatures can be used as a diagnostic tool and to guide therapy.
A new pathway has been found whereby SARS-CoV-2 infects the endothelium cells – the innermost layer of the blood vessels, causing hyper inflammation, blood clotting and thrombosis in severe COVID-19 patients. In a collaborative research, a CU Medicine team has discovered that the virus induces inflammation by activating a unique cell surface receptor called (TLR) 4, without entering the host cell.