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PolyU develops groundbreaking and highly effective targeted osteoarthritis pain reliever

Researchers at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) have developed a groundbreaking, imaging-guided nanoparticle photothermal treatment for osteoarthritis pain, utilising the concept of targeted cancer therapy but instead applied to the protein that initiates pain signaling along the nervous system. The novel targeted osteoarthritis pain theranostics, which offer both diagnostics and therapeutics, are made of gold nanorods coated with a two-dimensional nanomaterial, molybdenum disulfide. The coated nanorods are further fused with antibodies directed against the nerve growth factor (NGF), the pain-triggering protein. The antibody-fused nanorods enable both active and passive targeting on peripheral osteoarthritis pain generation. In addition, by directly binding NGF molecules to the photothermal nanoparticles, which can transfer light energy to local heat, the NGF protein will be destroyed under heating with a near-infrared laser. Professor YANG Mo, Associate Head (Research) of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a principal investigator of the study, said testing on mice suggests the targeted photothermal treatment achieves satisfactory pain relief and improvement of motor function. “It is the first time the concept of targeted photothermal therapy for osteoarthritis pain via nanotechnology is being introduced,” said Professor Yang. “Nanoparticles hold good promise for clinical translation to achieve long-lasting pain relief for days, compared to currently available medications that can only alleviate pain for hours,” he said. In their experiment with the mouse models of osteoarthritis, the nanorods with laser stimulation reduced signs of pain for three to four days. Another principal investigator, Dr WEN Chunyi, Associate Professor from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, said the dual-track pain treatments with the antibody-fused nanorods and laser stimulation reduced the amount of NGF in joint tissues more efficiently and did not cause damage to the surrounding soft tissues or bone. “A major concern of previous anti-NGF therapy in clinical trials is the development of destructive arthropathy after using high doses of anti-NGF antibodies. To address this issue, we developed the targeted theranostic approach to locate and remove NGF so that a minimal dosage of anti-NGF antibodies is required,” Dr Wen explained, adding that only around 1/100 of the therapeutic dosage used in previous clinical trials for control of osteoarthritis pain is needed under the new approach. Osteoarthritis is currently diagnosed by physical examination and, where necessary, with x-ray, MRI scanning and arthroscopy. PolyU’s novel technique enables a new and accurate diagnostics approach – osteoarthritis pain imaging, as the nanorods localised to the injured joints can be tracked using photoacoustic imaging – a new non-invasive imaging modality that combines high contrast and good specificity of optical imaging, while delivering the high resolution and penetration depth offered by ultrasound imaging. The research team chose gold nanorods due to their good photothermal properties and molybdenum disulfide coating due to its good biocompatibility. Moreover, molybdenum disulfide has good thermal conductivity and water solubility, as well as high near-infrared absorbance, making it a superior contrast agent for photoacoustic imaging that improves the nanorods’ photothermal properties. The Lancet Commission on osteoarthritis estimated the illness has affected more than 500 million people worldwide. The World Health Organization also expects the prevalence of osteoarthritis to increase due to population ageing and a rise in related factors such as obesity. Treatment of osteoarthritis focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement. However, painkillers are currently non-targeted and some even involve significant side effects. Meanwhile, total knee replacement is costly and requires considerable waiting time for surgery at public hospitals. “Our molecular theranostics treatment, if it becomes clinically available, could bring the prospect of deferring the need for expensive joint replacement operations for years and greatly improve the quality of life of osteoarthritis patients,” Dr Wen added. The research findings have been published in the prestigious journal ACS Nano by the American Chemical Society and were reported by Nature Reviews Rheumatology.   ***End***

14 Sep, 2021

Research & Innovation Department of Biomedical Engineering


PolyU’s research finds contact tracing is an effective way for controlling the spread of COVID-19 when borders reopen

As some countries in the world begin to consider adjusting their pandemic control strategy from “zero COVID” to “living with COVID”, a research study by the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has found that contact tracing is as vital as social distancing measures and vaccination in controlling the spread of COVID-19 when borders reopen. The research team has also developed a mobile app with a contact tracing feature, designed for use by inbound travellers, that would help fight the pandemic in this respect.

1 Sep, 2021

Research & Innovation Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics


HKSTP and PolyU Sign MoU to Advance GBA Entrepreneurship and Nurture Next Generation I&T Talent and Innovators

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a joint GBA-focused entrepreneurship programme, which aims to nurture young R&D talent into Hong Kong’s next generation of leading tech entrepreneurs and innovators. Under this partnership, PolyU and HKSTP will work closely to facilitate entrepreneurship education in the university and offer full-strength support to students and graduates to accelerate their growth at the startup ideation and incubation stages. The joint pre-incubation programme will integrate HKSTP’s ideation and pre-incubation framework with PolyU’s expertise in entrepreneurship education and knowledge transfer. This partnership will adopt HKSTP’s unique franchise model approach to apply its pre-incubation methodology to enable multiple partner programmes designed specifically to develop successful entrepreneurs. The HKSTP-PolyU programme is the first of such partnerships and combines co-nurturing of innovative ideas and with entrepreneurial training, coaching and mentorship to maximise the conversion of research into viable commercial success. PolyU also launched the GBA Maker Express programme – a combination of the PolyU Maker Fund scheme with the HKSTP iDM-Square hardware acceleration platform to help Hong Kong hardware innovators turn their creative ideas into market-ready products. This will spur Hong Kong’s reindustrialisation mission and accelerate local hardware startups in their product development from ideas to production, while leveraging the manufacturing capabilities of Shenzhen and other GBA cities. HKSTP will also collaborate closely with PolyU to deepen and grow the support for PhD graduates in PolyU’s GBA Startup PostDoc programme to pursue entrepreneurship while continuing translational research. This will also facilitate research commercialisation through startups who are sponsored or supported by corporates. Albert Wong, CEO at HKSTP said: “HKSTP’s partnership with PolyU is a signal of our commitment to turning Hong Kong’s world-class academic and R&D talent into future generations of pioneering entrepreneurs and innovators to fuel a new era of economic growth. With our proven ideation framework for startups, we will work closely with our partners to provide the critical guidance to unlock greatness from our young talent and accelerate the process of realising research potential into real business game-changers.” “PolyU is strongly committed to supporting entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer in order to maximise the impact of our research on Hong Kong, the Nation and the world. From next year onwards, we will embed the elements of “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” into all undergraduate programmes. We also have established various schemes, including funding, to support academic- and student-led start-ups that aim to commercialise PolyU’s technologies for the benefit of society. By integrating PolyU’s entrepreneurship initiatives with HKSTP’s vibrant innovation and technology ecosystem, the collaboration of the two parties will greatly empower young talent in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area to translate their research ideas into pioneering real-world solutions that deliver positive societal impact,” said Professor Jin-Guang Teng, President of PolyU. HKSTP is embarking on a broad sweeping strategy of deep partnerships with sector leaders to specifically target early-stage entrepreneurs and leverage the strengths of a combined network of industry and academic partners. PolyU has been supporting Innovation & Technology (I&T) talents in the GBA through various funding schemes such as PolyU Micro Fund Schemes since 2011 and the PolyU Maker Fund Programme launched in 2021, which is tailor-made for Hong Kong’s young makers and hardware developers to realise their ideas through the support of the Youth Development Fund (YDF). PolyU has also established a number of other programmes including the Lean Launchpad Programme, the Experiential Learning for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship programme and lab-to-market validation programme for nurturing I&T talents during incubation.   ****END****

26 Aug, 2021

Events Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship Office


PolyU launches the Junior Research Mentoring Programme, introducing secondary students to research projects to explore broader knowledge

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has always attached much importance to the holistic education of young people and encouraged them to gain different learning experiences through interdisciplinary studies. This May, PolyU launched the three-month Junior Research Mentoring Programme (JRMP) for secondary school students to participate in research projects across different fields under the guidance of PolyU’s academics, to help them explore multiple pathways among the diverse subjects available at PolyU in order to get prepared for their future academic and career pursuits.

25 Aug, 2021

Teaching & Learning Global Engagement Office


PolyU develops smart tree management system and transfers technology to the Tree Management Office to improve tree health monitoring in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) launched the "Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project" (the Project) in 2018, led by Professor Charles Wong, Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics at PolyU to develop the "Smart Monitoring System for Urban Tree Management” (the System), for monitoring the overall stability condition of trees in Hong Kong. The three-year pilot project, which concluded in August this year, was funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust with a grant of HK$32.8 million and was supported by various government departments. Other collaborators include The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Friends of the Earth (HK).

23 Aug, 2021

Research & Innovation Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics


Three PolyU smart city projects win the 2021 Smart 50 Awards for Hong Kong

Three smart city projects of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) won the 2021 Smart 50 Awards. It is the first time that PolyU’s research teams have seized the prestigious awards, which recognise global innovative smart city projects annually. The 2021 Smart 50 Awards features winners from all over the world, such as Canada, Japan, Germany, Israel, Spain and the United States, and PolyU is the only award recipient from Hong Kong. The award presentation ceremony will be held in the United States later this year. In support of Hong Kong’s Smart City Blueprint, PolyU has been working closely with the government and community partners to implement smart projects to address various societal and environmental issues, as well as to safeguard public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects have earned various international accolades, including the 2021 Smart 50 Awards. The three winning projects from PolyU are: (1) “First-Ever Smart Tree Monitoring Project Using Low-Power Wireless Network for Urban Forestry and Tree Management” by Professor Charles WONG Man-sing, Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics Tree risk assessment and risk mitigation measures in areas with high pedestrian and traffic flow need to be conducted so as to alleviate the risk of trees against human life and property. The research team collaborated with the Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to monitor tree stability on a territory-wide scale through the Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project. The team assessed the risk of tree failure by monitoring the trees’ swaying or tilting condition by applying spatial big data analytics with AI on the GIS-based platform. The project involved the installation of about 8,000 sensors on selected urban trees across Hong Kong. (2) “The Tai O Village Pedestrian Traffic Monitoring Project” by Mr Daniel ELKIN, School of Design Tai O Village was recently included in the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint of Hong Kong as an ecological and cultural tourism centre. As the tourist traffic is anticipated to surge, the research team partnered with the Tai O Village Rural Committee and various community groups to monitor the pedestrian traffic entering the village, using infrared passage gates installed at eight major infrastructure locations. The project is distinct in that it follows a collaborative model using inexpensive technology developed from consumer products to roll out data collection quickly and with high accessibility for village stakeholder engagement and feedback. (3) A Comprehensive Spatial Analysis and Onset Risk Prediction Platform for the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong by Professor John SHI, Smart Cities Research Institute In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has been on high alert regarding the community spread and how it may pose risks to everyday activities. The research team established a city-level epidemic data dashboard and risk prediction system for the public to track the community spread of the epidemic. The COVID-19 risk prediction algorithm is developed by analysing Hong Kong’s urban structure, transportation network, population environment and other socio-economic data through the use of spatial big data technologies and analysis. This provides an accurate prediction of the development trend of the epidemic in a timelier manner and supports the public health department to formulate more precise prevention and control strategies. About Smart 50 Awards In partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and the US Ignite, the Smart 50 Awards recognises impactful smart cities projects across the world annually. They aim to honour the most innovative and influential technologies in the areas of digital transformation, urban infrastructure and community engagement. The award presentation ceremony for this year will be held at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Washington DC in October 2021. For more details about the 2021 Smart 50 Awards and the list of award recipients, please refer to。   ***** END *****

18 Aug, 2021

Achievements Research and Innovation Office


PolyU stages MA in Fashion & Textile Design Fashion Show “Vessels” 2021

The Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) held its dynamic MA Graduation Fashion Show, “Vessels”, yesterday (5 Aug). More than 200 guests were in attendance, including representatives from the fashion industry and members of the public. The theme of this year's fashion show, "Vessels", is a metaphor describing fashion creation as a "container" that holds the ingenuity and creativity of the designer. Twenty-four graduates from the Master of Arts (MA) in Fashion and Textile Design drew inspiration from daily life to develop their unique designs for the Show. Some were inspired by traditional customs, and created a fashion collection to demonstrate their imagined world of life after death. Others reflected on the world’s development trends and made a collection that features a futuristic style. In addition to ingenuity in design, students also put great effort into the choice of materials, with a view to bringing forth their innovation and creativity. Advanced technologies such as three-dimensional design software (CLO 3D) were also employed, to minimise the material consumed in the production process and improve the sustainability of the designs. PolyU’s MA Programme in Fashion and Textile Design is one of the most outstanding innovative design courses in the Asia-Pacific region. The course is committed to nurturing new and emerging fashion talents for Hong Kong and beyond. The works of the graduates showcased their unique skills and vision for fashion trends. Programme Leader Mr. Ryan Scott Houlton hopes that talented and ambitious young designers can fully demonstrate their creative potential through this one-year practical course. He remarked, “This Master's Programme aims to nurture future industry mavericks, who are innovative and free-thinking. We also equip them with comprehensive skillsets. I look forward to seeing our graduates shine in the field, and become a new driving force and potential disrupters in the local fashion industry." ITC has always been in close contact with the industry, and has established collaborations between renowned brands (e.g., Spanish footwear brand Camper, international eyewear company Bbase) and the MA Programme in Fashion and Textile Design. In the new academic year, students will start working on the designs of shoes and glasses for the above-mentioned brands, while more collaboration projects are expected to be launched in the years ahead.   **End**

6 Aug, 2021

Events Institute of Textiles and Clothing


PolyU's sports teams win three consecutive Grand Slams in the Inter-collegiate Competition, showcasing the University’s efforts in nurturing elite athletes

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has always put emphasis on the whole-person development of students. By promoting a sporting culture on campus, the University hopes that students can further develop their self-confidence, team spirit, self-discipline and perseverance. PolyU's sporting ethos has enabled its student-athletes to thrive in the sports scene. PolyU women's swimming team members Toto WONG Kwan-to (School of Optometry, PolyU) and Tinky HO Nam-wai (Division of Business and Hospitality Management, Hong Kong Community College, PolyU) are representing the Hong Kong swimming team in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay and 4x200m Freestyle Relay events respectively in the Tokyo Olympics this year. Michael NG Yu-hin (Department of Rehabilitation Science, PolyU), record holder of the Hong Kong Short Course Men’s 200m Breaststroke, will participate in the FINA Swimming World Championships (25m) to be held in Abu Dhabi this December. He is also aiming to participate in the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou next year.

27 Jul, 2021

Achievements Student Affairs Office


PolyU launches first space science education programme for secondary students to stimulate their interest in STEM via designing space experiments

Over the years, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been actively involved in national space missions, and is committed to promoting space science education. Following the recent visit of top national space scientists to Hong Kong and the exhibition of lunar soil in the city, which inspired many young people’s interests in space exploration, PolyU is pleased to launch its first space science education programme. The programme aims to cultivate the interest of local youth in space science and elevate their enthusiasm for participating in the development of space technology, so that they can make contributions to the Nation.

15 Jul, 2021

Research & Innovation Faculty of Construction and Environment, Faculty of Engineering

The Chairmen of the UGC Funded University Councils issue a statement

Chairmen of the UGC Funded University Councils strongly condemn acts of terror and violence and call for proper values among students and staff The Council Chairmen noted with shock and anger the recent acts of terror and violence in our society. Given the highly volatile situation, it is particularly regrettable that some members of the community have attempted to legitimise and even glorify such acts of violence. These acts are an affront of the law. They go beyond the norms of public decency, morality and value, seriously undermine law and order, and damage Hong Kong as a law-abiding society. All Council Chairmen strongly condemn acts of terror and violence, and support the Government in its investigation of the terrorist and violent acts. We call on all to stop spreading hate and violence, and to cease glorifying acts of violence. All university stakeholders have a duty to halt extremist thinking, and to distance themselves from violence, and instead adopt proper values. Mr Lester Huang, Chairman of the Council of City University of Hong Kong Dr Clement Chen, Chairman of the Council of Hong Kong Baptist University Mr Andrew Yao Cho-fai, Chairman of the Council of Lingnan University Dr Norman Leung Nai-pang, Chairman of the Council of The Chinese University of Hong Kong Dr David Wong Yau-kar, Chairman of the Council of The Education University of Hong Kong Dr Lam Tai-fai, Chairman of the Council of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Mr Andrew Liao, Chairman of the Council of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Professor Arthur Li, Chairman of the Council of The University of Hong Kong (Listed in alphabetical order of university titles)

9 Jul, 2021

Others Communications and Public Affairs Office

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