News Centre

8 Jan 2021

Two CUHK Innovations Listed “2020 Top Ten Innovation News in Hong Kong”

8 Jan 2021

The scientific research teams from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) performed, in 2020, the world’s first colorectal endoscopic submucosal dissection using a flexible endoscopic robotic system, and started a study about gut microbiota of pregnant mothers and babies to determine how early life environmental and dietary factors contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease. These two projects have received public attention and recognition from experts, and were listed in the “2020 Top Ten Innovation News in Hong Kong” after receiving 2,000 votes in a public poll. The result has recognised CUHK’s scientific achievement. The University is committed to strengthening its scientific ability and to keep exploring and applying knowledge to improve the quality of life.

Develops and performs the first colorectal endoscopic submucosal dissection using flexible endoscopic robotic system

The Department of Surgery of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK (CU Medicine) has been collaborating with researchers from Singapore since 2010 to develop a flexible endoscopic robotic system. This novel system was specifically designed to enhance the safety and efficacy of Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) for the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Using the first prototype flexible endoscopic robot, the research team at CU Medicine had successfully performed ESD for treatment of early gastric cancer in 2011. The flexible endoscopic robot was further redesigned and developed for performing ESD in the colorectum, namely The EndoMaster EASE (Endoluminal Access Surgical Efficacy) System.

A research team from the Department of Surgery led the world’s first clinical trial on robotic colorectal ESD using the EndoMaster EASE System which commenced in May this year and has demonstrated satisfactory outcomes thus far. Researchers believe this innovative technology will enhance advanced endoscopic resection and benefit more patients with early colorectal cancer who will require ESD treatment.

Details of the research:

Pioneers gut microbiota research in Asia

CU Medicine faculty, comprising gastroenterologists, microbiologists, obstetricians and scientists, has been the pioneer in Asia in gut microbiota research. They received a USD $2.5 million grant (equivalent to approximately HKD 19.5 million) from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to study gut microbiota of pregnant mothers and babies to determine how early life environmental and dietary factors contribute to the development of Crohn’s disease.

The research team believes that the impact of gut microbiota on health is as important, as the human genome. Also, there is increasing evidence to suggest that maternal health, perinatal environmental exposures and microbial colonization during early life exert marked effects on immune and metabolic programming in the baby with long-term health related consequences, including the predisposition to Crohn’s and other immune mediated diseases. This research project will identify microorganisms transmitted from mothers to offspring during pregnancy, study the effects on the development of the immune system in early childhood, and develop novel interventions to manipulate the microbiome to reduce the risk of developing diseases.

Details of the research:

2020 Top Ten Innovation News in Hong Kong

The “2020 Top Ten Innovation News in Hong Kong” is organised by the Beijing – Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre. The candidates were recommended by higher institutions, then selected by an advisory group consisting of more than ten members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and finally voted for by the public from the 20 shortlisted.

The evaluation was supported by eight universities in Hong Kong, including the University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, City University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Baptist University, The Education University of Hong Kong, and The Open University of Hong Kong.

CUHK committed to research and innovation

CUHK has been recognised as the most innovative university in Hong Kong for the fourth consecutive year and is ranked 26th in the Asia-Pacific region by Reuters’ latest “Asia Pacific Region’s Most Innovative Universities” listing.  The University currently has more than 1,000 granted patents in different jurisdictions worldwide. Some of these patents have been licensed to relevant industries that help bring these innovations to the market to benefit society. In academic year 2019-20, CUHK has received 257 granted patents and filed 386 patent applications for inventions developed in the areas of medical technology, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, and materials science. CUHK established the CUHK Hong Kong—Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Research Institute (Futian) in 2020, the research base in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.