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C2i’s Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Respiratory Diseases Garner Top Honours at the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva

Professor Michael Chan, Professor Kenrie Hui, Dr Rachel Ching and Dr Angel Ma from the Centre for Immunology & Infection received prestigious awards at the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva for their breakthrough projects revolutionizing patient care and informing public health policies in the field of infectious and respiratory diseases.

Acute lung injury (ALI), along with its severe form, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), poses a significant threat to global health, resulting in high rates of morbidity and mortality. These conditions can be caused by various respiratory diseases and highly pathogenic emerging respiratory virus infection such as avian influenza H5N1, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

The impact of ALI and ARDS on individuals and communities cannot be underestimated. The consequences extend beyond the immediate health implications, affecting the quality of life for patients and placing a considerable burden on healthcare systems worldwide.

The objective of Professor Michael Chan’s team is to improve the treatment of ALI by producing innovative, physiologically relevant, disease platforms for screening therapeutic candidates and developing molecules for treating the syndrome.

The 3 projects under his supervision awarded in Geneva are:

o   Gold medal from the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva Jury

Human alveolar epithelial-capillary model for lung injury assessment and drug screening

A cutting-edge approach to develop a physiologically relevant, human mini lung diseases model for fast and smart respiratory medicine screening. This innovative system enables fast and efficient screening of respiratory medicines, allowing hundreds of drugs to be tested simultaneously. By utilizing just two types of cells derived from patients, this method guarantees that drugs proven effective in the laboratory will also be effective in treating patients. This personalized treatment approach enhances efficacy while minimizing any potential side effects.


o   Gold medal from the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva Jury

Risk assessment platform for tropism and disease severity of respiratory viruses

This two-system assessment platform for pandemic potentials and disease severity of lung pathogens integrates two human models — a respiratory tissue explants system and a unique human acute lung injury model — to assess respiratory virus tropism and severity. Leveraging these physiologically relevant models enables a comprehensive evaluation with enhanced resolution. The respiratory tissue explant system, featuring bronchial and lung tissues, offers insights into viral replication preferences within the human airway, distinguishing between upper and lower regions. This nuanced understanding contributes to a deeper comprehension of viral behaviour and its impact on disease progression. This project has already proven successful by providing updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants to different organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) during the COVID-19 pandemic.


o   Silver medal from the 49th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva Jury

Personalized specific human respiratory organoids: revolutionizing drug screening

The invention presented is an innovative method for obtaining human stem cells and cultivating them into nasopharyngeal organoids. This pioneering approach offers a non-invasive means to produce human respiratory organoids that closely replicate physiological conditions, tailored to individual phenotypes. Serving as a personalized platform, these organoids hold significant promise for medical testing, assessment, and the advancement of precision medicine in respiratory tract-related applications. 


“We are honoured to receive this recognition and excited to continue pushing the boundaries of invention and making a positive impact on the world!” said Professor Michael Chan, Associate Professor, Lead Scientist, Centre for Immunology & Infection.

“This amazing achievement not only recognizes C2i’s hard work on its mission to improve global health and its dedication to innovation but also highlights the international community's appreciation for our ground-breaking contributions” said Professor Leo Poon, Managing Director, Centre for Immunology & Infection.

More about Professor Michael’s Chan work:


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