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Invited talk 5
Prof. Terence LEE

Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology,

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dr. Terence Lee is a Professor in the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, and Deputy Director in University Research Facility in Life Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where he has been since 2016. Dr. Lee’s research interests focus on cancer stem cells, therapeutic resistance, gut microbiota and cancer immunology using hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as the model system.  Dr. Lee has published over 120 articles, many of them in high impact factor journals including Nature Review Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cell Stem Cell, Journal of Hepatology, Hepatology, Cancer Research, Cell Reports, etc. Dr. Lee was ranked Top 1% of most cited scholars in “Clinical Medicine” in 2013. He has h-index of 53 with total number of citations over 8800.  Dr. Lee was recently awarded the outstanding researcher in the Faculty of Science in PolyU.  

Topic:  Uncovering the vulnerability of immune resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma

Summary:  Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer in the world, mainly due to the high prevalence of hepatitis B viral  and hepatitis C viral  infection and, recently, the increasing emergence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Most HCC patients present at an advanced stage, when resection or liver transplantation is not feasible. HCC treatment recently entered a new era with the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). However, the response rare is less than 20% due to development of immune resistance. Therefore, better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying immune resistance is urgently needed. First, we have identified a gut microbiota which plays crucial role in regulation of immune suppressive microenvironment when absent. Daily administration of gut microbiota in combination of ICIs exerted the maximum growth inhibitory effect on HCC growth. Second, targeting the intrinsic oncogenic signaling pathway is a potential strategy to complement the effect of ICIs. In summary, targeting immune resistance can be achieved by gut microbiota-targeted strategy and molecularly targeted therapy approach.

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