Dr Au is the Head and Consultant Clinical Oncologist in Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Oncology Centre. He has special interest in the clinical management of lung, hepatobiliary, head and neck, gastrointestinal and breast cancers. He has been the principal investigator of many clinical trials involving new drugs and translational research. The research area of his Ph.D. thesis was the application of high throughput technologies and bioinformatics in functional genomics and proteomics for the study of lung cancer, particularly the non-smoking related cases.
Formerly, as the chairman of the Research Committee of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Coordinator of Research and Ethics Committee in Kowloon Central Cluster hospitals of Hospital Authority, he was instrumental in the establishment of the standards of clinical research according to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) provided by ICH. He initiated and established the first fully subsidized predictive biomarkers testing programme for patients requiring targeted therapies in all public hospitals in 2008. He had also served as a member of the Steering Committee of Genomic Medicine of the Hong Kong Government and an honorary professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology of University of Hong Kong.
Dr. Au is the President of the Hong Kong Lung Cancer Study Group, the President of Hong Kong Precision Oncology Society and the co-founder of the Hong Kong Neuro-oncology Society. These professional bodies are important organizations active in promoting education and research in cancers in Hong Kong.
Introduction to 7th Hong Kong International Oncology Symposium:
The Hong Kong International Oncology Symposium (HKIOS) was hosted by the Hong Kong Precision Oncology Society (HKPOS), which was formed by a group of clinical Oncologists and bio-medical scientists with the aim of providing a platform for multidisciplinary and international collaborations in research, education and clinical applications of new science and technologies that would potentially transform oncological practice in the coming decade.
We advocate when we develop a new test or treatment, we should stick to the principles of scientific rigor (rather than meta-science) in the processes of development, clinical utility assessment based on the only two valid clinical endpoints namely overall survival and quality of life, and evidence of improvement over existing practice based on clinical trials on human subjects.
In the previous 6 years of symposia, we have included themes like functional genomics technologies (like next generation sequencing, single cell or single molecule sequencing), personalized immunotherapy, personalised vaccines and cell therapy, proton therapy, functional imaging and adaptive radiotherapy.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we have to conduct our 7th annual scientific meeting virtually this. Our themes this year include clinical applications of artificial intelligence, FLASH radiotherapy and tumour treating fields.
Despite years of enthusiasm, the adoption of artificial intelligence in clinical practice is severely lagging. It has turned out that reaching intelligence at human levels is more complicated than originally anticipated. Machines are still unable to derive sensible decisions pragmatically based on incomplete information or to plan ahead the course of clinical actions strategically. However, there are promising areas of applications like radiology, radiotherapy planning and biomarkers discovery, for which the input and outcome information are more easily defined and captured.
FLASH radiotherapy involves the ultra-fast delivery of radiation treatment at dose rates (in excess of 40 Gy/s) several orders of magnitude greater than those currently in routine clinical practice (about 0.03 Gy/s). Ultra-fast dose rates allow normal tissue tolerance levels to be exceeded with a greater probability of tumour control and little or no normal tissue damage. If confirmed by ongoing clinical studies, it will be another “earthquake” breakthrough in the field of radiation oncology.
Alternating electric fields (tumour treating fields or TTF) have been successfully applied to cancer cells in-vitro to disrupt malignant progression. This novel antimitotic therapy has now been proven to be efficacious and with relatively minor side-effects (mainly contact dermatitis) in human studies and approved by FDA to treat glioblastoma and pleural mesothelioma recently.
In the 7th HKIOS, we shall continue to promote international academic exchange and collaborations particularly in the Trans-Pacific regions. We thank our local and overseas speakers for their stern support and contribution to the symposium.
I hope you can all enjoy and benefit from the meeting this year. I am looking forward to meeting you again face-to-face next year!
Joseph Siu-Kie AU
Hong Kong Precision Oncology Society