A Hong Kong-based charity organization donated HK$150 million to the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). A $300 million development fund will be established in the Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) at CUHK to encourage research and development in biomedical technologies, with funding and in-kind contributions supporting the donation.
The weight of an aging population is straining many of the world’s healthcare systems. Infectious diseases like COVID-19 and the aftermath of the pandemic both present immediate risks to world health. Strengthening medical research and accelerating the conversion of scientific findings into clinical applications is essential for handling these urgent problems.
Given this, CU Medicine created the Passion for Perfection (P for P) Scheme to quicken the “bench to bedside” process—of turning laboratory discovery into patient care—which leads to medical advancements and better human health. The P for P program will also promote entrepreneurship at CUHK, reinforce and defend the development of inventions and intellectual property, and enhance and improve healthcare in Hong Kong.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK noted that advances in biomedical research and biotechnology are key to the development of new knowledge and best practices for enhancing the quality of life, which are crucial for societal well-being and economic prosperity in Hong Kong, the rest of China, and the rest of the world. The gift, he continued, will enable CUHK to capitalize on its top-tier strengths in innovative biomedicine, a key tenet of the strategic plan’s 2021–25 goal of “Excellence with Purpose and Responsibility,” and to break new ground in translational biomedical research and developments that will revolutionize patient care and public health.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CUHK said that CU Medicine will begin an innovative “Passion for Perfection” (P for P) program with the contribution, providing cash to promote initiatives with the potential to generate practical new diagnostic tools or therapeutic gimmicks. In order to speed up the conversion of findings from basic research into clinical applications and enable the clinical evaluation of these new tools, CU Medicine will also upgrade its current clinical trial center. This will improve CUHK’s translational clinical research.
Two efforts, in particular, will be implemented:
1. Creation of Models for New Therapeutic or Diagnostic Methods
To encourage the development of revolutionary diagnostic technologies that will allow patients to seek care sooner and dramatically increase their chances of recovery, a new financing program will be introduced. Additionally, funding will be provided for studies into the creation of sophisticated therapeutic solutions, particularly those based on cutting-edge modalities including cellular, genetic, and biological agents. In order to encourage the creation of start-ups and enable the translation and commercialization of great research findings, a sustainable innovation ecosystem will be put in place.
2. Infrastructure Improvement to Enable Clinical Validation of New Approaches
A crucial first step toward integrating novel diagnostic and treatment modalities into standard clinical practice is clinical evaluation in pertinent patient cohorts. A specialized team will be developed in the current clinical trial center to speed up the “bench to bedside” process. This team will be in charge of patient recruiting, clinical evaluation, timely reporting of patient progress, and monitoring of safety and emergent ethical issues. The objective is to accelerate and more effectively translate research discoveries into improvements in patient care.
The dean of medicine at CUHK stated that since the faculty’s founding 40 years ago, it has aggressively worked to advance medical research in order to better the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. Their ultimate objective is to realistically apply their scientific discoveries in ways that benefit patients. The donation has significantly increased the University’s capacity in this translational journey, enabling them to create medical breakthroughs that will change the world for the good of patients and the welfare of humanity.