Over the years Dr Edmond Ma has made many contributions to drug discovery.


馬迪龍博士多年來在藥物開發貢獻良多。

Date: 22 Jan 2015 (Thursday)

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HKBU research project receives HK$1 million boost from Health and Medical Research Fund in support of inhibitors development for treatment of Hepatitis C

化學學者獲醫療衞生研究基金撥款約100萬港元     資助研究抗丙型肝炎抑製劑

Dr Edmond Ma, Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, received a total of HK$998,284 from the Government’s Health and Medical Research Fund 2013-14 for his research project entitled “Development of Pin1 inhibitors for the treatment of hepatitis C”. The project led by Dr Ma was conducted in collaboration with Dr Leung Chung-hang, Associate Professor, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences of the University of Macau and his team.

Pin1 is a human enzyme that has been linked with both hepatitis B and hepatitis C viral infections. Overexpression of Pin1 has been linked with hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer). The research team plans to use molecular docking software to discover novel and highly selective inhibitors of Pin1 from databases of natural products or natural product-like through structure-based virtual screening methods. Virtual screening offers an integrated approach in modern drug discovery that may lead to the identification of novel lead molecules. It could identify potent and selective ligands in silico and greatly reduce the number of compounds to be tested in vitro, thus it could reduce the time and experiment materials needed to conduct biological assays. The team anticipates that these selected inhibitors could potentially be developed as therapeutic agents to complement existing anti-hepatitis C regimens.

Hepatitis C is a highly prevalent disease affecting 150 million people worldwide, with 3 to 4 million new cases diagnosed every year. Pin1 microRNA and protein expression levels were found to be elevated in HCV replicon cells and HCV-infected cells, and treatment of those cells with a Pin1 inhibitor has been shown to decrease hepatitis C propagation.

The funding will be spent on the purchase of molecular docking software, natural product compound libraries, chemical and biochemical reagents, and for the recruitment of talented staff. Dr Ma said, “We are highly grateful for the funding support from the Health and Medical Research Fund this year. This is a good opportunity for my team to develop effective lead compounds for the treatment of hepatitis infection.”

化學系助理教授馬迪龍博士,獲得特區政府2013至2014年度醫療衞生研究基金撥款998,284港元,資助其項目「抗丙型肝炎Pin1抑製劑的研究」。項目由馬博士率領團隊與澳門大學中華醫藥研究院副教授梁重恒博士的團隊合作研究。

「肽基脯氨酰異構酶」(Pin1)是存在人體內,與乙型和丙型肝炎病毒感染相關的酶。人體內過多Pin1是導致肝細胞癌(最常見的肝癌)的重要因素。研究團隊善用分子對接軟件,從天然產物或其類似物的數據庫中,虛擬篩選,從而找出新型、高選擇性的Pin1抑製劑。虛擬篩選是通過電腦計算方法,找出具有較高活性的先導化合物。它可以模擬出蛋白質和藥物的結構並進行模擬對接,作出評估,預測化合物可能的活性和選擇性。此方法無需採用真實測試進行大量的藥物篩選,因此可大大減少藥物開發成本。團隊預期篩選出的抑製劑可開發成藥物,以補充現時治療丙型肝炎的方法。

全球約1.5 億人感染丙型肝炎,每年新發病例約300萬至400萬例。丙型肝炎病毒複製子細胞和丙型肝炎病毒感染細胞中發現Pin1的微小RNA(mRNA)和蛋白質過度表達,而使用Pin1抑製劑可有效抑制丙型肝炎病毒細胞的繁殖,因此令Pin1成為治療丙型肝炎的潛在靶點。

團隊將利用這筆資助款項添置分子對接軟件、天然產物數據庫、化學及生化試劑,以及招聘優秀的人才加入研究隊伍。馬博士說:「我們非常榮幸獲得醫療衛生研究基金的撥款資助,資金將支持我的團隊繼續研發抗肝炎病毒感染先導化合物,為開發新的藥物作出貢獻。」