Dr. Zhang Shiqing, a former PhD student of DST, won the 2019 Asia Young Scientist Award.  He will receive the award in the annual meeting of the Japanese Cancer Society to be held in September 26-28, 2019 in Kyoto. Each year two cancer researchers from Asia (excluding the two awards specifically for Japanese Researchers) under the age of 35 are given the award. Selection of the awardees is organized by the Journal Cancer Science.

Dr. Zhang’s award is based on his thesis research carried out under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Chung. He identified a novel anti-cancer mechanism that target certain types of cancer cells. Most current anti-cancer drugs are not specific for killing cancer cells. They preferentially kill cancer cells because they kill fast growing cells and cancer cells usually grow faster than normal cells. Unfortunately many normal cells also grow fast and they are also killed by these drugs. As a result, chemotherapy is usually accompanied by undesirable side effects.

Dr. Zhang identified a new class of anti-cancer drugs whose toxic effects are activated by two enzymes (AKR1B1 and AKR1B10) that are more abundant in some cancer cells, providing specificity in treating these cancers. He showed that good substrates of these enzymes can specifically kill cancer cells that have higher levels of these enzymes. These drugs were shown to be effective in retarding tumor growth in mice. These drugs should be effective in treating liver, lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers which usually have high levels of AKR1B1 and AKR1B10 (see reference for details). Applications for patent protection of this invention had been submitted in China and USA.

USA patent (approval pending)
Title: SUBSTRATES OF AKR1Bl/AKR1B10 AS ANTI-CANCER DRUGS
File number: 15/772,579;
Application submission: May 1, 2018

中国专利申请 (待批准):
专利名称:AKR1Bs的底物、药物组合物、药物制剂及制备抗癌药物的方法;
申请号:201810416145.8
申请日:2018年05月03日

Ref:

Shi-Qing Zhang, Kin-Lam Ken Yung, Sookja Kim Chung, Sum-Man Stephen Chung Aldo-keto reductases-mediated cytotoxicity of 2-deoxyglucose: A novel anticancer mechanism. Cancer Science 2018;1–11.

(from DST)