Inaugural lecture from the Ip’s Family Trust Professor in Clinical Oncology: A Joyful Prescription by Professor Stephen Chan
The side effects of cancer therapy not only limit treatment efficacy but also induce significant physical and psychological burden to patients. Hepatobiliary pancreatic cancer patients are more susceptible to these complications, as organ function impairment is common among them. Professor Stephen Chan Lam of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Faculty of Medicine’s (CU Medicine) Department of Clinical Oncology is devoted to discovering better treatments for hepatobiliary pancreatic cancer patients. Professor Chan delivered his inaugural lecture as the Ip’s Family Trust Professor in Clinical Oncology, titled “A Joyful Prescription” last Thursday (18 August), expressing his determination to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients through clinical research.
Committed to developing personalised therapy for cancer patients, with a large-scale clinical trial planned
Hepatobiliary pancreatic cancer refers to cancers arising in the liver, bile duct or pancreas. According to the Hospital Authority, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer are among the top five fatal cancers in Hong Kong. The five-year survival rate is less than 5%, and more than 70% of patients are inoperable. Therefore, the development of more treatment options is urgently needed.
In his inaugural lecture, Professor Chan shared how his research team has made concerted efforts to test different novel treatment modalities on hepatobiliary pancreatic cancers during the past 20 years. Around 200 guests joined the lecture on-site, including representatives from the Ip’s Family Trust, distinguished guests from the medical field, CUHK alumni, staff and students.
Professor Chan’s team has been leading an international clinical trial starting from early 2022 to establish a regimen with a combination of immunotherapies for liver cancer. This regimen could remarkably extend the survival of patients while keeping them from the complications of conventional treatment. To further improve the outcome of patients with hepatobiliary pancreatic cancers, the team has recently started working on the strategy of personalising cancer treatment with predictive biomarker and organoid drug testing. Under this concept, individual patients will undergo specific treatments to optimise the balance between efficacy and toxicity, according to drug test results. The pre-clinical models and early clinical experiences have already shown promising results. To put it into clinical practice, Professor Chan’s team is planning to commence a large-scale clinical trial.
Professor Chan stated, “It is my dream that in the future there will be treatments which allow full recovery in cancer patients. In moving towards this goal, my ambition is to put personalised therapy into practice so that individual hepatobiliary pancreatic cancer patients can receive the optimal treatment according to their physical condition. The patients will continue to enjoy good quality of life despite the medical treatment. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the support of the Ip’s Family Trust, which enables us to further the research on hepatobiliary pancreatic cancers, benefiting more local and even global cancer patients.”
Served as a keen member of the clinical, scientific and academic fields for 20 years
Inspired by his secondary school teachers and his own hospital experience, Professor Chan aspired to become a doctor since young. He graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 2000 and received medical oncology training at the Prince of Wales Hospital from 2001 to 2007. He is currently a professor at CU Medicine’s Department of Clinical Oncology and the Faculty’s Assistant Dean (Health Systems). He also devotes himself to public welfare affairs. In 2015, he founded a charity, Hand in Hand Cancer Foundation, to provide free services and education for cancer patients.
Professor Chan’s focus is clinical and translational research in hepatobiliary pancreatic cancers. He was awarded the Gold Medal Prize for his dissertation in 2007 and the Young Investigator Award for his research work in 2008 by the Hong Kong College of Physicians. Internationally, Professor Chan serves as Chairman of the International Liver Cancer Association’s Education Committee and an overseas member of the Hepatobiliary Task Force of the National Cancer Institute in the United States. He also served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress as a track chair in 2021 and is a committee member from 2022 to 2023. He has been invited to be Associate Editor of several journals, including Journal of Hepatology, Liver Cancer and Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology.
About the Ip’s Family Trust Professorship in Clinical Oncology
Mr Paul Ip established the Ip’s Family Trust Professorship in Clinical Oncology in 2021 to support CUHK’s medical research, especially the cutting-edge scientific projects of CU Medicine’s Department of Clinical Oncology on the early diagnosis and treatment of hepatobiliary pancreatic cancers.