CUHK Professor Hui Yao LAN’s Research on Chronic Kidney Disease Wins First Prize in Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award
The research project entitled ‘Research into the mechanism and control of clinical progression of chronic kidney diseases’ by Professor Hui Yao LAN, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Assistant Dean (Research), Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has won the First Prize in the Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award 2015, presented by the Chinese Medical Association (CMA). The research was in collaboration with experts from Southern Medical University, Southeast University, Shandong University, Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fudan University.
Research reveals the mechanism of renal fibrosis
Kidney hardening or fibrosis is the common pathway of chronic kidney disease progression to end-stage with loss of renal function. In the past five years, Professor Hui Yao LAN and the collaborative research team have been committed to studying the mechanism of organ fibrosis and exploring new anti-fibrotic therapies, particularly in renal fibrosis. By using disease models in bred mice with cellular and molecular biology, and physiology and pathology research tools, the research team revealed that signaling between biomolecules TGF-beta and Smads is essential in the regulation of kidney, heart and other tissues or organs fibrosis.
The research team pioneered internationally to conduct a systematic and thorough study to clarify the specificity of signaling between TGF-beta and different Smad molecules. It was found that Smad3 is a fibrotic promoter while Smad2 and Smad7 are protectors from fibrosis. Moreover, Smad4 promotes fibrosis but it can also suppress inflammation. Professor Hui Yao LAN stated, ‘These findings are essential for conducting further researches on functions of TGF-beta and different Smad molecules. They also provide reliable and scientific theory for the development of specific anti-fibrotic targeted therapy.’
Shedding light on invention of novel anti-fibrotic therapy
Currently, Professor LAN’s team has established ‘ultrasound-microbubble-Smad7 gene therapy’ for the treatment of kidney and heart fibrosis in mice models. Professor LAN also applies the ‘Yin and Yang’ balance theory of Chinese medicine to modern science with TGF-beta / Smad signal balance and invented herbal naringenin (Smad3 inhibitor) plus Asiatic acid (Smad7 agonist) combined therapies against renal fibrosis.
About CMA and the Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award
CMA is an organization directly under the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China. Established in 1915, CMA is responsible for organizing medical science exchange activities, editing and publishing journals and disseminating medical and health knowledge to the general public.
The Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award is presented by the CMA to honour outstanding achievements in medical science and technology. The China Food and Drug Administration, higher education institutions in China, fellows of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering can recommend appropriate research projects to the reviewing committee of the CMA. The committee members, who are medical experts or scholars, review and elect the winners of various awards. There were a total 202 recommended research projects this year and only 7 of them won a First Prize, including the one by Professor LAN and his team. The remaining projects were awarded Second and Third prizes or other prizes.