7 Jul 2023

【Outstanding Research】Professor Jun YU, Professor of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at CU Medicine, has received Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) 2022 from the Ministry of Education (MOE). Professor Yu is the only Hong Kong scholar to receive the first-class award in Natural Sciences this year. Details of the awarded research project:

“The Composition Characteristics, Mechanisms, Early Diagnosis, and Prevention of Gut Microbiota in Colorectal Cancer”

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, with an increasing incidence rate and a trend towards affecting younger individuals. Professor Yu Jun and her team have conducted in-depth research for 10 years on the changes, functions and mechanisms of gut microbiota during the occurrence and development of colorectal cancer, as well as non-invasive diagnosis and prevention,and have made significant breakthroughs. The team was the first to discover the abnormality of bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea in the intestine and their correlation with the occurrence and development of colorectal cancer. They have elucidated the carcinogenic effects and molecular mechanisms of the driving bacteria related to colorectal cancer and revealed that mucosal bacteria related to colorectal cancer can affect host gene mutations and epigenetic changes.

The team also discovered bacterial biomarkers that can be used for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer and developed a non-invasive diagnostic method based on a combination of targeted quantitative bacterial biomarkers and faecal immunochemical testing. The sensitivity of the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is as high as 93.8%, while the specificity is up to 81.2%. They also pioneered research on the role and mechanism of probiotics in inhibiting colorectal cancer. They were the first to discover that Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus gallinarum can effectively suppress colorectal cancer, and confirmed that Lysinibacillus sphaericus can degrade aspirin, thereby reducing its preventive effect on colorectal cancer, providing new insights for personalised treatment with aspirin.

The research results have been granted 11 patents, and the patented technology has successfully developed a colorectal cancer detection kit, which has been applied clinically.