Topical Update

Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2012

Dr W. S. Wong

Associate Consultant, Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Dr. K.F. Wong Chief of Service, Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Introduction

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the commonest chronic lymphoproliferative disorder of mature B-cells and affects mainly elderly. It is characterized by the presence of≥5x109/L monoclonal and often CD5+CD23+B-lymphocytes in peripheral blood. Haematogists usually have no problem in reaching the diagnosisas the majority of the cases have classical morphological and immunophenotypic features; however, it is an extremely heterogeneous disease clinically with highly variable clinical course.

Some patients are asymptomatic and do not require treatment...

Volume 6, Issue 1, July 2011

Dr W. T. Poon

Associate Consultant, Department of Pathology, Princess Margaret Hospital

Introduction

Toxicology analysis involves detection, identification and measurement of foreign compounds and their metabolites in biological and other specimens. It plays a useful role in them a nagement of poisoned patients when the diagnosis is in doubt, the administration of antidotes or protective agents is contemplated, or the use of active elimination therapy is being considered. As the scope and complexity of clinical toxicology continues to increase, continuing effort is required for the laboratory to expand its diagnostic capability and coverage. Apart from patient care, identification of a lethal or emerging toxin also serves to provide useful information...

Volume 5, Issue 2, December 2010

WOO, Patrick CY

Professor, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong

Coronavirus study group, International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses

Introduction

The Coronaviridae family is classified into two subfamilies, Coronavirinae and Torovirinae. Members of the Coronavirinae subfamily are in general referred to as coronaviruses. Phenotypically, coronaviruses are enveloped viruses of 120-160 nm in diameter. Under electronmicroscopy, coronaviruses have a crown-like appearance and the name “coronavirus” is derived from the Greek word κορώνα, which means crown. Genotypically, coronaviruses are positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses with genome sizes of about 30 kb, the largest genome size among all RNA viruses. Traditionally...

Volume 5, Issue 1, June 2010

POON, WM

Senior Medical & Health Officer, Forensic Pathology Service, Department of Health

Introduction

Investigation of sudden death is the commonest challenge encountered by Forensic Pathologists. Most cases of sudden death are due to cardiovascular abnormalities evident at macroscopic and/or microscopic examination, such as coronary heart disease, myocarditis, cardiomyopathies, aortic dissection, etc. Unfortunately, a significant number of sudden death, estimated to be 1-5% (1), remains unexplained despite a thorough autopsy including toxicology, histology and other laboratory tests. This article attempts to look into some recent advances in the understanding of these “negative autopsies”. Issues related to “negative autopsies in infancy, which in...

Volume 4, Issue 3, December 2009

KHOO, Ui Soon

Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital

Background

Breast cancer is the leading female cancer in Hong Kong. Now at 52.1 per 100,000 (Hong Kong Cancer Registry, 2008) its incidence has been steadily rising over the last few decades, and is the highest reported in Asian regions. There are two major breast and ovarian susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. About 30-70% of patients with hereditary breast/ovarian cancer and about 5-10% of all breast and/or ovarian cancer cases harbor a germline mutation in these genes 1. The defective gene is inherited in autosomal dominance pattern. Individuals carrying a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have a 85% lifetime risk of breast...

Volume 4, Issue 2, August 2009

Dr Jason C. C. So

Associate Professor, Division of Haematology, Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital

Introduction

Globin gene disorders as a whole are the commonest group of monogenic disease in the world. In Southern China and Southeast Asia, alpha and beta thalassaemias, as well as specific types of haemoglobin (Hb) variants such as Hb E, are prevalent. Most people who have inherited these mutated globin genes are asymptomatic carriers. The number of severely affected patients is relatively small in developed regions where comprehensive antenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis programmes are in place. This is not the situation in less developed countries where the clinical, economical and social load of globin...

Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2009

TAI, Morris

Associate Consultant, Department of Pathology and Clinical Biochemistry, Queen Mary Hospital

Introduction

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) has been increasing in recent years and DM is now a global epidemic. Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) plays an important role in the management of DM as the vast majority of outcome  studies on diabetic complications are based on it. The most famous of such studies, which demonstrated the relationship of HbA1c to diabetic complications, are the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) & the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS). HbA1c is formed via a posttranslational nonenzymatic attachment of glucose to haemoglobin in an irreversible fashion. In strict chemical terms, the...

Volume 3, Issue 3, December 2008

IP, Margaret

Professor, Department of Microbiology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Introduction - Global Concerns and Challenges

Throughout the world, healthcare professionals are concerned at the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance and the global emergence of multi-drug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in the health care setting and in the community. The use of penicillin in early 1940s on a wider scale, and the subsequent newly-introduced antimicrobials, was soon followed by the emergence of resistantmicrobes. Some of the seresistant organisms in relation to the introduction of antimicrobial agents are listed in Table 1. The prevalence of MDROs has increased dramatically worldwide during the last decades [1]. Most alarmingly are in infections...

Volume 3, Issue 2, August 2008

KWOK, SY Janette

Associate Consultant, Division of Transplantation and Immunogenetics, Department of Pathology and Clinical Biochemistry, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong

Introduction

Immunogenetics is the study of the immune response in relation to genetic makeup. The immune system protects the vertebrates from all potential harmful infectious agents such as bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites. The growing understanding of the immune system has influenced diversified biomedical disciplines, and is playing a significant role in the study and treatment of many diseases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions.

The launch of immunogenetics could be traced back to the demonstration of Mendelian inheritance of the human ABO blood grouping in 1910....

Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2008

BEH, SL Philip 

Associate Professor (Forensic Pathology), Department of Pathology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine The University of Hong Kong

The autopsyinterview is an anomaly which arose in Hong Kong at a time when the Coroner did not speak the local language and the police officer investigating the death had very little medical knowledge. The hospital anatomical pathologists and forensic pathologists were therefore delegated the task of obtaining medical information from the Cantonese speaking next-of-kin which may be related to the death and providing a written English summary for the Coroner. The legal authority on the decision to autopsy or to waive an autopsy had...