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Featured Member: Anskar Yu-Hung Leung

Posted By ISEH Headquarters, Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dr. Anskar Yu-Hung Leung is a specialist in haematology and haematological oncology. His article in the November 2010 issue of Experimental Hematology, "Role of a novel zebrafish nup98 during embryonic development,” with fellow authors Tsz-Kan Fung, Martin I.S. Chung and Raymond Liang, has been met with great interest. According to the paper’s objectives section, "the nucleoporin NUP98 is a component of the nuclear pore complex that regulates nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. It has been characterized in acute myeloid leukemia as a fusion partner during chromosomal translocation. In this study, we identifi! ed a zebrafish nup98 gene and examined its role in embryonic development.” The results found that "a novel zebrafish nup98 was identified and it serves a role in nucleocytoplasmic trafficking similar to human NUP98. During development, it modulates hematopoietic stem cell and early myeloid development and maintains the integrity of cranial vasculature in the developing central nervous system.”

"The work on zebrafish nup98 has provided us with grounds to develop a model whereby the pathogenetic role of human leukemia fusion gene in zebrafish can be characterized in zebrafish,” Dr. Leung reports. "Patients with acute myeloid leukemia carrying NUP98-HOXA9 have a very grave prognosis with conventional treatment. The model which we are going to develop will enable us to screen novel agents targeting this particular leukemia type.”
Working with zebrafish for his science was a logical progression for this fish hobbyist.
"Keeping an aquarium as a hobby has always been part of my life since I was a kid,” he shares. "As a clinical hematologist, I manage patients with hematological malignancies in my practice. When I learned a few years ago that zebrafish can be useful in modeling human blood diseases, it instantly became my focus of research.” Dr. Leung is a widely published author. In addition to the Experimental Hematology piece mentioned above, his 2010 manuscripts include:

  • A DEAB-sensitive aldehyde dehydrogenase regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells development during primitive hematopoiesis in zebrafish embryos. Leukemia.
  • Differential NOD/SCID mouse engraftment of peripheral blood CD34(+) cells and JAK2V617F clones from patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. Leuk Res.
  • Successful engraftment by leukemia initiating cells in ad! ult acute lymphoblastic leukemia after direct intrahepatic injection into unconditioned newborn NOD/SCID mice. Exp Hematol.
  • FLT3/internal tandem duplication subclones in acute myeloid leukemia differ in their engraftment potential in NOD/SCID mice. Leuk Res.
  • Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation: current concepts and novel therapeutic strategies. Br Med Bull.
  • Occult autologous haematopoietic regeneration without disease relapse following myeloablative allogeneic haematopoietic SCT for lymphomas. Bone Marrow Transplant.
  • Mediastinal cryptococcosis masquerading as therapy-refractory lymphoma. Ann Hematol.
  • CD20 expression in natural killer T cell lymphoma. Histopathology.
  • Metabolic activity measured by F-18 FDG PET in natural killer-cell lymphoma compared to aggressive B- and T-cell lymphomas. Clin Nucl Med.
  • Spontaneous central venous catheter fracture: relevance of the pinch-off sign. J Hosp Med.
  • Sweet Syndrome due to Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Possible Therapeutic Role of Intrav! enous Immunoglobulin in Addition to Standard Treatment. Adv Hematol.
  • T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia: an Asian perspective. Ann Hematol.

Dr. Leung relates some challenges facing him in his professional life today. "With conventional chemotherapy and even hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the treatment outcome of most patients with acute myeloid leukemia is not satisfactory,” Dr. Leung states. "As a practicing hematologist, I feel the need and urgency to look for novel treatment for these diseases. Until recently, biomedical research has not been the focus of government policy in Hong Kong and local research has been limited by the availability of resources. Fortunately, the condition may improve as the public awareness of stem cell research has increased locally and we all expect more resources to be invested from government.” Another challe! nge facing this scientist is on the home front where he is instructing his sons, ages eight and 10, to clean the home aquarium. "I believed the trait of keeping up the aquarium should be inherited, but it isn’t,” he sadly concludes."

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