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Everybody wants a cure for cancer but the answer is not likely to come in a single magic bullet. Rather, it requires scholars in multiple disciplines to work together with a singular goal. HKU researchers are focused on identifying and tracking cancer genetics and stem cells, and exploring the role of psychosocial aspects in cancer care and progression.

The Cancer SRT has a firm foundation at HKU, where scholars have produced important research on a wide spectrum of cancers, such as liver cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, leukaemia, esophageal cancer and breast cancer. In the process they have developed broad areas of expertise. As the SRT moves forward, their focus will be on not only individual types of cancers, but also their underlying causes and treatment.

Three key areas have been identified for investigation, after a rigorous review of the SRT:

  • Cancer genetics and biomarkers. Research into the genetic basis of cancer development can improve our understanding of how tumours form and how to detect and treat them.
  • Imaging and cancer stem cells. The role of cancer stem cells in the development and progression of tumours is still not fully understood. HKU has an array of imaging technologies and capabilities that can help improve understanding of the biochemistry and behaviour of these cells.
  • Psychosocial oncology. This is a new focus for this SRT and will concentrate on studying the effectiveness of psycho-behavioural intervention in cancer prevention and care. It will draw on existing research strengths in integrative care, Traditional Chinese Medicine and social sciences, as well as medicine.

Researchers from the Faculties of Engineering, Medicine, Science and Social Sciences are engaged in this SRT, which will aim to develop new techniques and platforms, launch new projects, organise international workshops and lectures, and establish strategic partnerships with universities in Mainland China.

Related major work at the University includes a Partner State Key Laboratory for Liver Research and the 'Center for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Research' (Areas of Excellence project).


With cancer rates rising worldwide, especially in Mainland China, the quest for cancer biomarkers, therapeutic targets, prevention and care has been in the spotlight of medical science. We foresee opportunities from national and international research funding, intellectual exchange and collaboration that will nurture multi-institute cancer research, and we will seize on them with the aim of achieving world-class excellence in our research.

Professor X.Y. Guan,
Corresponding Co-Convenor



Professor X.Y. Guan* (Clinical Oncology)

Professor C.L.W. Chan (Social Work & Social Administration)

Professor G.S.W. Tsao (Biomedical Sciences)

*Corresponding Co-Convenor