Hong Kong University Receives Funding to Participate in iPSpine

iPSpotlight – May 27, 2019

Hong Kong University (HKU) has received funding from the EU-HK Research and Innovation cooperation co-funding mechanism by the Research Grants Council (RGC). A vital part of iPSpine’s consortium, HKU’s role is now further solidified. Professors Danny Chan and Pengtao Liu provide valuable contribution through their unique expertise in developmental biology and iPS cells and importantly will implement innovative technology making iPS-based advanced therapies for the future that are safe for the patient. This update to the consortium was made official in April 2019, and means that HKU may now officially participate and proceed as planned within the iPSpine consortium.

The iPSpine consortium, a European-based research effort, envisions a future advanced therapeutic strategy with the ultimate goal of unlocking a radical new treatment for patients suffering from chronic low back pain (LBP). LBP is a highly common and debilitating problem for millions globally, with no current biological treatments available, leaving LBP sufferers to either take conservative medical treatment or take risky, and highly invasive surgical options. One of the underlying common problem lies within the cellular content of the intervertebral disc. The cells within the core of the disc deteriorate and cannot maintain the demanding tissue properties. This leads to a decline in the disc functioning and LBP. The iPSpine consortium addresses disc-induced LBP via biomedical innovation, potentially improving the quality of life for millions of patients who suffer from IDD-induced LBP.

Professor Danny Chan, as part of the School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Hong Kong, had this to say about the HKU involvement within the iPSpine consortium, “I am over the moon with this unique opportunity to be part of this consortium full of game-changing ideas tackling the most challenging hurdles in regenerative medicine to alleviate back pain.”