Dr. Mien-Chie Hung, Academia Sinica academician and an authority on cancer gene therapy, arrived in Taiwan on February 1 to take over the post of the President of China Medical University from the retiring academician Wen-Hwa Lee, with the aim of fulfilling the vision of making the school one of the world’s top 100 universities. As there is a long history of academic interactions between Dr. Hung and the Tang Prize Foundation, it is only natural that the CEO of the foundation, Dr. Jenn-chuan Chern congratulated Dr. Hung on his new appointment. James P. Allison, the 2014 winner of the Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science and the 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, also offered his felicitations. Dr. Hung sent a photo of him and James P. Allison to the foundation as a precious memento.
Dr. Hung and John Mendelsohn, another Tang Prize laureate in Biopharmaceutical Science and president emeritus of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, had been work colleagues for more than twenty years. During the Tang Prize week last year, Dr. Hung not only delivered a speech on behalf of Mendelsohn, but also participated in the Tang Master’s Forum held in China Medical University. He highly praised Mendelsohn’s achievements in the field of cancer treatment, believing that Mendelsohn has led the MD Anderson Cancer Center to the position of American’s best cancer research hospital.
Dr. Hung pointed out that the MD Anderson Cancer Center has been working in collaboration with 33 countries, including Taiwan. As the Vice President of the center, Dr. Hung made sure that the relevant medical technologies were introduced to China Medical University. In addition, because of his help, many medical practitioners in Taiwan were able to receive trainings in the center. Dr. Chern has faith in Dr. Hung’s expert knowledge, his administrative skills and his connection with the international medical communities. The impressive records China Medical University has already established can serve as a foundation for more exciting developments Dr. Chern believes will take place under the leadership of Dr. Hung.
Dr. Hung was once interviewed for the book the Tang Prize produced for its laureates. He remarked that Dr. Tony Hunter should be credited with the conceptualization of targeted therapy and monoclonal antibody, both of which originated with his discovery of tyrosine phosphorylation. The fact that more than half of the cancer drugs approved by FDA can be attributed to tyrosine kinases means that without Hunt’s research, these drugs would not have existed and millions of cancer patients would have suffered more greatly. Brian J. Druker and John Mendelsohn benefited from Hunt’s research and succeeded in making new targeted drugs to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia, colorectal cancer and head and neck cancer. Seeing them as three influential figures in the field of cancer treatment, Dr. Hung thinks they are all deserved winners of the Tang Prize.