Dr Yu Yuanyuan
Research Assistant Professor, Teaching and Research DivisionSchool of Chinese Medicine
“From functional study of sclerostin loops in bone & cardiovascular system to Orphan Drug Designation”
|Knowledge Transfer Award
Associate Vice-President (Chinese Medicine Development)
Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences & Chair Professor of Social Work
Head & Professor, Department of Social Work
Assistant Professor of Practice, Clinical Division, School of Chinese Medicine
“Project on Caring for Patients of COVID-19: Integrated Model of Online Chinese Medicine cum Emotional Support”
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease, is a rare hereditary bone disease with no effective drugs for treatment. It affects 6 to 7 in 100 thousand people worldwide. Dr Yu and her team have firstly found that sclerostin loop3 participates in inhibiting bone formation, but not in protecting cardiovascular system. It guides drug discovery direction to address the clinic challenge (a cardiovascular safety concern) of the marked sclerostin antibody in osteoporosis treatment. Further, Dr Yu and her team have identified an oligonucleotide aptamer drug (Apc001) functionally targeting sclerostin loop 3 (the second generation of sclerostin inhibitor) to promote bone formation with low cardiovascular concern for bone anabolic therapy in osteoporosis and osteogenesis imperfect animal models. The therapeutic aptamer Apc001 has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by US FDA (FDA, DRU-2019-6966) in 2019. This is the first drug in Hong Kong and the first aptamer drug in China being granted “orphan drug” designation by FDA.The team has established a spin-off drug company “Aptacure Therapeutic Limited” based on this project, and supported by the Incu-Bio programme in Hong Kong Science Park. In the long term, it is hoped that the OI patients could obtain the innovative bone anabolic drug to reduce their fracture without cardiovascular risk, especially for patients with cardiovascular history, and further promote good health of Hong Kong with long-term sustainability. Dr Yu’s contributions demonstrate the innovative strengths at HKBU, and raise the good reputation of HKBU both locally and globally.
|Given the recent upsurge in cases amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, HKBU has established a transdisciplinary team of experts and supporting personnel to offer a free and integrated Chinese medicine service, as well as emotional support service to COVID patients, their close contacts and carers. The Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Centre, School of Chinese Medicine, and Social Work Practice and Mental Health Centre, Department of Social Work provide the services. This Project represents an important step towards innovating care model for patients who receive Chinese medicine treatment and more, a new HKBU’s frontier in transdisciplinary collaboration as well as the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) to deliver both medical and psychosocial care.
The integrated model started when the Emotional Support Service team of the Department of Social Work joined the Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Centre to become one team on 1 March 2022. The Telemedicine Centre deliver free-of-charge service to patients under quarantine in the community with no critical symptoms who do not require hospitalisation, and the residents and staff members of accredited elderly homes registered for the service. Chinese medicine practitioners of HKBU conduct consultations with patients through WhatsApp video-conferencing, prescribe medicine and provide a medicine dispensing service. Up to 31 March, 0.3 million patients were served.