What methods exist for treating cancer? This question drives countless scientists worldwide, including Dr Carmen Wong, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. Inspired by Nobel laureate Gregg Semenza, she delves into the unique metabolic mechanisms of liver cancer cells, studying how they utilise different fuels and metabolic pathways to adapt and grow in hypoxic environments. Her goal is to uncover ways to inhibit liver cancer cells and apply them in the treatment of other cancers. In 2022, Carmen and her research team successfully analysed the genetic mutation profiles of liver cancer patients, identifying which category of patients would respond effectively to immunotherapy, marking a significant stride towards precise treatments.
Throughout her seventeen-year research career, Carmen has received recognition in the academic field. She was awarded the Hong Kong Young Scientist Award by the Hong Kong Institution of Science in 2009 and secured the National Natural Science Foundation of China's Excellent Young Scientists Fund in 2020. However, as her accomplishments grow, so does the pressure she puts on herself. As a mother of twin daughters, Carmen also faces the challenge of balancing her family and work life. She is grateful for her husband, Dr Jack Wong, who shares her passion for liver cancer research and serves as her closest ally.
Time is limited, but knowledge is boundless. This documentary takes us into the world of Carmen, a female scientist, to discover how she embraces curiosity and relentlessly pursues breakthroughs in her scientific journey while navigating the complexities of being a daughter, wife, and mother.