Prof. TO Kin-wah, Kenneth

About me

TO Kin-wah, KennethTO Kin-wah, Kenneth 杜健華

B. Pharm., Ph.D., RPh (HK)
Associate Director (Research and Graduate Affairs),
Associate Professor
School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3943 8017
Fax:(852) 2603 5295

Personal Details

Professor To graduated with B.Pharm. and Ph.D. from the formerly Department of Pharmacy, CUHK. He is a registered pharmacist in Hong Kong. After graduation, he went to the United States to obtain post-doctoral research training in cancer research. Before joining the School of Pharmacy in 2008, he worked at the National Cancer Institute (NCI/NIH), studying multidrug resistance transporters and cancer epigenetics.


Research Interests

The research group is devoted to cancer cell biology and drug transporter research. They study the regulation of multidrug resistance transporters in cancer cells. The new knowledge generated can be used to develop novel strategies for eradicating cancer cells and to devise more specific prognostic biomarkers for predicting response to chemotherapy. Recently, the team uses drug repurposing approach to devise new combination therapy for overcoming resistance to anticancer drugs.

  • Investigated and compellingly demonstrated the novel use of molecular targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors in eradicating cancer stem-like cells and circumventing transporters-mediated chemo-resistance
  • Studied the microRNA-mediated regulation of drug transporters and its prognostic application in predicting response to chemotherapy
  • Evaluated the adjuvant use of active components from traditional Chinese medicine in circumventing resistance to conventional anticancer drugs
  • Designed, synthesized and evaluated novel platinum-based anticancer agents

Research Collaboration

  • National Cancer Institute, NIH, USA
  • State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Sun Yat-sen University, China
  • Joint Research Laboratory for Promoting Globalization of Traditional Chinese Medicines (CUHK-SIMM Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai)
  • Department of Medicine, HKU
  • Department of Chemistry, University of Science and Technology Beijing, China
  • Cancer Research Unit, Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, HK
  • School of Biomedical Sciences, CUHK
  • Department of Clinical Oncology, CUHK
  • Department of Chemistry, CUHK
  • Department of Surgery, CUHK
  • Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, CUHK




  • PHAR1110 Fundamentals of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • PHAR2110 Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design
  • PHAR2131 Pharmaceutical Analysis
  • PHAR2212 Dosage Form Science II
  • PHAR2220 Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics
  • PHAR3420 Pharmacogenomics and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  • PHAR5130 Overview of Drug Development
  • Research Track supervisor for Pharmacy Clerkship PHAR4911/4912
  • SBMS6005 Cancer and Inflammation


Representative Publications

(* corresponding author)

  1. Tong CWS, Wu WKK, Loong HHF, Cho WCS, To KK*. Drug combination approach to overcome resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer. Cancer Lett 2017; 405: 100-110.
  2. To KK*, Leung WW, Ng SS. A novel miR-203-DNMT3b-ABCG2 regulatory pathway predisposing colorectal cancer development. Mol Carcinog 2017; 56: 464-477.
  3. Wei Y, Poon DC, Fei R, Lam AS, Au-Yeung SC, To KK*. A platinum-based hybrid drug design approach to circumvent acquired resistance to molecular targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Sci Rep 2016; 6: 25363.
  4. To KK*, Poon DC, Wei Y, Wang F, Lin G, Fu L. Pelitinib (EKB-569) targets the up-regulation of ABCB1 and ABCG2 induced by hyperthermia to eradicate lung cancer. Br J Pharmacol 2015; 172: 4089-4106.
  5. Wang XK, He JH, Xu JH, Ye S, Wang F, Zhang H, Huang ZC, To KK, Fu LW. Afatinib enhances the efficacy of conventional chemotherapeutic agents by eradicating cancer stem-like cells. Cancer Res 2014; 74: 4431-4445.

More Publications

Books and Chapters

Supplementary Information


  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2008/2009, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2010)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2009/2010, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2011)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2010/2011, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2012)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2011/2012, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2013)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2012/2013, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2014)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2013/2014, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2015)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2014/2015, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2016)
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award 2015, CUHK
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2015/2016, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2017)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2016/2017, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2018)
  • Teachers of the Years Awards 2017/2018, School of Pharmacy, CUHK (Year 2019)


  • Au-Yeung S.C.F., To K.K.W., Ho Y.P. “Composition comprising demethylcantharidin in combination with platinum-containing anticancer agents and use thereof.”
    • European Patent EP1390027A1, Feb 25, 2004;
    • Chinese Patent CN 1768737A, May 10, 2006;
    • Hong Kong SAR Patent HK 1064955, May 4, 2006.
  • Ho Y.P., Au-Yeung S.C.F., To K.K.W., Wang Xinning. “Demethyl-cantharidin platinum complex isomers and their use.”
    • European Patent EP1749831A1, Feb 7, 2007.
  • Li XQ, Cho CH, To K.K.W.. 氨茴酸类衍生物、其制备方法及其在医药上的用途 (Novel tariquidar derivatives, their synthesis and medical use). People’s Republic of China Patent Application No. 201410772734.1, Pending.
  • Ye Y., Lin G., Yao S., To K.K.W., Ma L., Chai S., Tang C.P., Ke C.Q., Wang Y.Z. 一类多氧孕甾烷化合物及用途. (Novel polyoxypregnane compounds with ABC transporters-mediated MDR reversal effects). People’s Republic of China Patent. Application No. 201210197100.9, Pending.
  • Yang Y., Lin G., TTo K.K.W., Yao S., Chai S., Ma L., Yin C., Tang C.P., Ke C.Q. 多氧孕甾烷皂苷前药化合物或其组合物及其用途. (Potential use of the herbal extract and/or the mixture of three most abundant polyoxypregnane compounds for the circumvention of the ABC transporters-mediated MDR). People’s Republic of China Patent. Application No. 2013102379249, Pending.
  • Yang Y., Lin G., Yao S., To K.K.W., Ma L., Chai S., Tang C.P., Yin C., Ke C.Q., Wang Y.Z. 一类多氧孕甾烷化合物及用途. Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. Application No. PCT/CN2013/077281, Pending.

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