HKBU Award-winning Invention Bring Hope to Neurodegenerative Diseases Patients

There are no satisfactory treatments that can ultimately cure neurodegenerative diseases at present. Therefore, cell replacement therapy raises the only hope for patients.

Led by Prof Ken Yung from the Department of Biology developed an Autologous Neural Stem Cell Harvest (ANSCH) technology that pioneers the use of active stem cells from live subjects without the risk of lives and avoiding ethical and genetic problems. It is the first and the only means in the world for harvesting adult neural stem cells from the brain of live subjects without them having to risk their lives. This historical breakthrough has been facilitated by our strategically designed nanoparticles for specifically locating neural stem cells for efficient extraction. As stem cells are regenerative, repeated extraction from the same live subject is possible. ANSc Harvest pioneers the use of active stem cells from live subjects without the risk of lives. The extracted neural stem cells are active and viable. They can differentiate into a variety of neural cells and be re-injected into the brain of the same subjects for replacing their damaged neural cells for recovery.

ANSc Harvest is set to bring enormous benefits to medical researches and clinical practices. For research relating to neural stem cells, drug discovery or drug development, ANSc Harvest offers neural stem cells from the same cell sources /animals, allowing the use of the same stem cell lines throughout the whole research project, which definitely maintains higher accuracy and consistency. What’s more, ANSc Harvest has a high potential to be developed as a personalised cell replacement therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Patients might be able to use their own neural stem cells to replace their degenerated ones in the future.

In 2016, the gold award was awarded by the Sixth Bank of China (HK) Hong Kong Federation of Innovative Technologies and Manufacturing Industries (FITMI).

The invented technology also won a gold medal in the category 'surgery' and the Diploma of High Scientific and Technological Level of Invention at the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in 2016.

The stem-cell harvest technology is now a licensed technology of OPER Technology Limited, an HKBU spin-off company founded by Prof Yung and Dr Lui. In 2019, Dr Lui was picked by MIT Technology Review as one of the top ten 'innovators under 35' in the Asia-Pacific region