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QMUL signs head and neck cancer research agreement with Guiyang Medical University

Head and neck cancer experts at the Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, have signed a joint agreement with their counterparts in China, to increase international exchanges and initiatives and raise standards of research in the field.

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The China-British Joint Molecular Head and Neck Cancer Research signing ceremony was held in Guiyang, Guizhou, China, on 11 May 2014 in front of delegates from QMUL, Guiyang Medical University (GMU), Guizhou Province Department of Education and Department of Science and Technology, the Affiliated Hospital of Guiyang Medical University, Guizhou Provincial Tumour Hospital and representatives from other leading Chinese hospitals and research institutes.

Dean of Dentistry and Deputy Vice Principal (Health) Professor Mike Curtis introduced QMUL to Chinese and UK delegates, noting that he was “looking forward to a fruitful collaboration”. QMUL’s delegation included Professor of Stem Cell Science Ian Mackenzie, Senior Lecturer in Oral Biology Dr Hong Wan and Lecturer in Head and Neck Cancer Dr Muy-Teck Teh.

A memorandum of cooperation was signed by GMU Dean for School of Stomatology Professor Ma Hong and QMUL Dean for Dentistry Professor Curtis, followed by GMU campus tours and talks by the QMUL delegation.

Head and neck cancer is diagnosed in over half a million individuals worldwide each year, a figure which is expected to increase to 750,000 by 2015. Patients with advanced disease have a five-year survival rate of just 10-30 per cent. Early detection coupled with early intervention could significantly improve patient outcome, reduce mortality and alleviate healthcare costs.


Guiyang, capital city of Guizhou province, is one of the most ethnically diverse and poverty-stricken provinces in China. With poor diet and low socioeconomic status known risk factors for head and neck cancer, Guizhou province has one of the highest head and neck cancer rates in China.

Dr Muy-Teck Teh at the Institute of Dentistry, QMUL, has developed a cost effective, quantitative Malignancy Index Diagnostic System (qMIDS) test on head and neck cancer samples. The establishment of a collaborative research initiative provides a unique opportunity to transfer a diagnostic test to China and, at the same time, examine the roles of ethnicity and socioeconomic factors in cancer biology.

This collaboration was facilitated by the British Consulate-General Chongqing and the Innovation China UK (ICUK) Programme office at QM Innovation Ltd.

The collaboration aims to establish:

Technology development: to produce a cost effective non-invasive cancer screening kit.

Innovation: collaboratively develop new treatments and technologies for head and neck cancer.

Create and strengthen networks: identify other potential Chinese partners to strengthen the UK research and innovation network in head and neck cancer.

Postgraduate Students: to establish a new channel for recruiting overseas students to pursue their postgraduate studies at QMUL.

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