CUHK Establishes Margaret K.L. Cheung Research Centre for Management of Parkinsonism To Develop Innovative Solutions to Slow Disease Progression
The Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) inaugurated the Margaret K.L. Cheung Research Centre for Management of Parkinsonism (the Centre) today (11 April), World Parkinson’s Day. With a generous donation from Ms. Margaret Kam Ling CHEUNG, the Centre is set up to conduct transdisciplinary research that enables the discovery of therapeutics for preventing or slowing the progression of parkinsonism.
The Centre will establish registries for early stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) and cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), both the most common diseases causing parkinsonism, in Chinese subjects to develop precise biomarkers and diagnostics as well as to predict and monitor disease progression. The team has also built Hong Kong’s first custom-built in vivo multiphoton microscope which will greatly enhance the future development of novel therapeutics that can delay the progression of SVD.
Over 6 million individuals suffer from PD globally, while one third of HK elderly are harbouring SVD
Parkinsonism was first identified more than 200 years ago (1817) by Dr. James Parkinson. It refers to a cluster of symptoms that primarily includes slow movement, together with other conditions such as stiffness, tremor and/or instability. The most common diseases causing parkinsonism include idiopathic PD, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and sporadic cerebral SVD. Currently, it is estimated that 6.1 million individuals suffer from PD globally. In China there are 1.7 million and in Hong Kong 12,000 people with PD. It is projected that the number suffering from PD will at least double in the coming two decades because of an ageing society. As for SVD, the prevalence is even higher. About one third of the elderly in Hong Kong are incubating this disease, contributing to a slow and unsteady gait that is commonly seen in many older people. Stroke and dementia are other common manifestations of SVD.
Donor Ms. Margaret Kam Ling CHEUNG, said at the inauguration ceremony of the Centre, “Thousands of individuals and their families are being affected by parkinsonism in Hong Kong and around the world. I hope the Centre can advance research breakthroughs in the management of parkinsonism to benefit the well-being of patients and families suffering from parkinsonism.”
Professor CHAN Wai Yee, Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President of CUHK, remarked, “The establishment of this Centre is very timely given the expected increasing burden of parkinsonism coming with the ageing society. We believe this donation will realise the visionary steps taken by CUHK to generate a profound understanding of advancing parkinsonism management, alleviate the suffering of patients and their families and raise up future high quality researchers in this field.”