Personalized Medicine Cancer Therapy Conference at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

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During a conference held Nov. 13-14 at MD Anderson's sister institution, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, it was evident that the desire to develop a better approach to cancer therapy is global. 

Speakers from MD Anderson, Harvard, Duke and CUHK, among others, explored the universal themes of teasing apart the complexities of the biology of cancer in order to allow doctors to pick the best therapy for each patient. Something that made this conference unique, in my experience, was the opening -- more on that later.
Faculty champions

The meeting was co-chaired by Professor Anthony Chan, director of the Hong Kong Cancer Institute & Sir Y.K. Pao Center for Cancer at CUHK, and Professor Alfred Yung, M.D., chair of MD Anderson's Department of Neuro-Oncology. They are the "faculty champions" of the MDACC-CUHK sister relationship. Having brought the two institutions together in 2008, we continue to make connections between our faculty to spark collaboration. One of the strongest interactions is between Dr. Vivian Lui of CUHK and Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Systems Biology at MD Anderson. Lui learned RPPA, a key systems technique, in Mills' lab and together they are exploring signaling in nasophayngeal carcinoma, which recently resulted in a paper in Oncogene.
Similar experiences among our sisters
Remarkable to me was the similarity of patient outcomes and approaches across several of the institutions in our Sister Institution Network. Many of our SIs in Asia were represented at the meeting, including Fudan University Cancer Hospital (Shanghai), Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital (Tianjing), Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center (Guangzhou) and China Medical University Hospital (Taichung). Presentations from Dr. Zhong-Pin Chen from Sun Yat-Sen University, Dr. Danny Chan from CUHK and Charles Conrad, M.D., from MD Anderson showed broadly equivalent responses to current glioma therapies, and underlined the need for better therapy and markers. Such similarities also emerged in discussions of lung cancer by various speakers, including presentations by Dr. Qinghua Zhou from Tianjin and Dr. Guo Liang Jiang, president of Fudan University Cancer Hospital.
Lion Dance
Accompanying the legendary hospitality of Hong Kong, graciously orchestrated by our host, Dr. Anthony Chan, was the most fun opening to a conference I've ever seen -- the Lion Dance. This traditional ritual promotes a long life and a good conference, and it started the meeting with energy and fun. I was honored to be asked to paint the eyes of the lion, which wakes it up at the beginning of the dance. As you can see, the lion got up close and personal with the front row and welcomed us to Hong Kong with some real flair.

Hmm ... perhaps our own conference services department could add this to the list of available entertainment options.

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