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NTU's School of Medicine Professor Ding Shinn Chen Establishes Taiwan Liver Disease Prevention and Treatment Model by Winning the 2007 Presidential Science Award

NTU's School of Medicine Professor Ding Shinn Chen won the 2007 Presidential Science Award. The presentation ceremony of the award was held on November 2nd in the presidential office, where President Shui-bian Chen personally presented the honor trophy, the certificate of the award and a cash prize to Professor Chen in recognition of his excellence in medical research.

The Presidential Science Award is the highest honor given to basic scientific researchers in the Republic of China. Starting from 2001, the Award is given once every two years, to reward scholars who have made outstanding and innovative contributions in the international academic research of mathematical sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and applied sciences. Up to four scholars can become recipients of the Presidential Science Award every time the Award is given.

Professor Ding-shinn Chen has spent over 30 years in the fundamental research of hepatitis. During the 70's he spearheaded the national type B hepatitis vaccination program, and played a pivotal role in the development of Taiwan's self-made hepatitis C virus testing reagents, which was instrumental in greatly reducing the chances of hepatitis C infection through blood transfusion. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, the Review Committee of the Presidential Science Award decided to give him the highest affirmation in the life science category.

Professor Chen led a medical research team at NTU with undivided attention. The team which he led has had abundant research results, having published more than 500 high quality academic papers up to this date. During the 80's Professor Chen implemented a national hepatitis B vaccination program, which was the very first in the world, and has enjoyed international acclaim for more than 23 years. This outstanding program dropped the hepatitis B carrier rate of Taiwan's children to less than 1%, and is estimated to have reduced the number of hepatitis type B carriers by 700,000 to 800,000 people, and saved the lives of 200,000 Taiwanese who would otherwise have died of cirrhosis or liver cancer!!

In the area of chronic hepatitis C research (often considered as another killer type liver disease); Professor Ding-shinn Chen collaborated with Professor Ming-yang Lai, and changed the traditional method of treatment by using interferon. They were the team which initiated the use of ribavirin with interferon α, and discovered that this combination was able to cure over half of the chronic hepatitis C patients. The medical community worldwide has confirmed that the adoption of this method can achieve a 65% cure rate of hepatitis C, whereas with regard to the 2nd and 3rd genotype of hepatitis C, the cure rate can be as high as over 90%. This combination treatment method initiated by NTU has obtained global recognition as the most efficient treatment of hepatitis C, and is being applied extensively all over the world.

Professor Chen treats every patient as a member of his family. He derives great pleasure from academic research, and teaches his students by setting up subtle examples. Working as a doctor in a university hospital like the NTU Hospital, Professor Chen is obliged to shuttle between the patients' wards and his own laboratory, playing the role of a medical interpreter, i.e., he must find solutions to the doubts and confusions discovered in the patients' wards in his laboratory, and then apply his findings in the laboratory to the treatment of the patients. Professor Chen's outstanding academic and clinical achievements have won him numerous honors and recognitions; he is truly a shining example of the "medical scientist"!!!

Dr. Ding-shinn Chen's personal website:

  Copyright 2007 NTU Secretariat

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