Leung Yun Chung Thomas

  • Fellowship in 1993 at the University of Oxford

Professor Thomas Leung is the Director of Lo Ka Chung Centre for Natural Anti-Cancer Drug Development, with the following Honors and Awards: (1) President's Award for Excellent Performance/Achievement 2004/2005 on Research/Scholarly Activities; (2) Technology Transfer Award 2005; (3) Special Gold Award for "Arginine depletion with pegylated recombinant human arginase as a novel method in the treatment of liver cancer" in The 33rd International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products, Geneva, 2005; (4) Technology Transfer Award 2006; (5) Most Active New Consultant Award 2007; (6) Prize of the State of Geneva for "A novel, multi-potent drug removing arginine from the blood and kill cancer cells" in The 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products, Geneva, 2009; (7) High Impact Award in Research Achievement 2009; (8) SEED Competition Finalist Award 2010, Roche.

Professor Thomas Leung Yun-chung and Associate Professor Dr Thomas Lo Wai-hung of PolyU developed pegylated recombinant human arginase (named BCT-100) in collaboration with Dr. Paul Ning-Man Cheng of Bio-Cancer Treatment International, Ltd. The research was based on work suggesting that arginine depletion can starve tumor cells to death whilst leaving healthy cells relatively unscathed. The main constituent of this new drug is human arginase, an enzyme that degrades arginine. Modification of arginase by adding polyethylene glycol has been found to greatly prolong the enzyme's activity in the patient's blood. The new drug works on the mechanism of arginine depletion for the treatment of liver cancer. After completing clinical trials locally in 2012, the new drug has become Hong Kong's first "Investigational New Drug" (IND) granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This achievement is hailed as an important milestone in the development of bio-technology and pharmaceutical industry in Hong Kong.