University of Sydney
Associate Professor Dong was trained as a Physician but pursued a full time research career after being awarded PhD in 1992 from The University of Sydney. He then continued as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, USA. On returning to Sydney in 1996, he was appointed as the Head of the Cancer Biology Group. Dong has taken 16 students (10 PhD and 6 Master) since his appointment as Group leader in 1996. Ten of them have completed and now work in biomedical field. Dong also takes responsibility to teach Senior Registrar from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Two Gordon Craig Fellows have spent one year (full time) in Dong’s laboratory to conduct basic research on prostate cancer. He is the overseas supervisor for Chinese students sponsored by National China Scholar Council (3 have completed their studies and returned to China). Dong was awarded one of the 12 inaugural Career Development & Support NSW Cancer Institute Fellowships in 2005.He has published 68 papers (total citations of 2,700), with an average Impact factor of 4.5. He is the first or senior/corresponding author on 71% of them. His work has led to lodgment of an International Patent (Northern America, EU, Japan and Australia).
Dong's team is investigating the mechanism of, and the way to prevent, cancer recurrence. Cancers are made up of both actively dividing and "resting" cancer cells. These “resting” (quiescent) cancer cells are thought to be central to recurrence, after actively dividing cancer cells are eliminated by chemo- or radio-therapy. Based on statistic in the United States in 2011, there are 12 million people living with cancer and hence how to prevent cancer recurrence is of critical importance. Dong’s team using Gene Chip technology has identified a list of genes that are aberrantly increased in their product levels in advanced form of prostate cancer compared with organ-confined prostate cancer. This is important as the regulatory signals required for quiescent cancer cells to re-enter the cell cycle have not been fully elucidated. Identification of these signals will provide needed molecular targets for preventing cancer recurrence. In addition, the team has made progress in designing prevention strategies with the ultimate goal of providing cancer survivors with these interventions when the disease is in remission. Based on the principal of efficacy and no toxicity, the team has determined the potential of compounds isolated from edible plant and herbal medicine in blocking the transition from the quiescent to actively dividing state of cancer cells, or sensitising cancer cells to radiation therapy.