Dr. Edmond Ma Dik-Lung receives HK$1 million from Health and Medical Research Fund in support of development of inhibitors for treatment of Hepatitis C
Dr. Ma says the funding could facilitate the advancement of the team’s research output.

Dr. Edmond Ma was recently awarded HK$1 million from the Health and Medical Research Fund 2012-13 of the HKSAR Government in support of his research entitled “Development of Inhibitors against Signal Transducer and Activation of Transcription (STAT-3) Protein for the Treatment of Hepatitis C”. Dr. Ma and his team, in collaboration with a research team led by Dr. Leung Chung-hang, Associate Professor, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences of the University of Macau, jointly developed the project. 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver diseases including liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. In the project, Dr. Ma proposed to apply structure-based virtual screening methods to identify inhibitors against STAT-3 from natural product and natural product-like databases in order to combat HCV infection. The team anticipated that they could develop novel natural product-like STAT-3 inhibitors that could potentially yield safer and more selective therapeutic agents for the treatment of HCV. 
The funding will be spent on new molecular docking software, natural product compound libraries, chemical and biochemical reagents, and for the recruitment of talented staff to join the research team. Dr. Ma expressed his delight on receiving the funding and said: “This acknowledges the efforts of my team in drug discovery over the past few years and the contributions that we have made in this field. With the support of the fund, our team is inspired and encouraged to advance our research output to new heights.”
The Health and Medical Research Fund 2012-13 awards grants to research proposals in the areas of public health; prevention, treatment and control of infectious diseases; neuroscience, clinical genetics and clinical trials. Successful applications were vetted on factors including scientific merit and local relevance.