Chen ZhuOne of my highlights from the President’s visit to China last week has got to be the admittance of Professor Chen Zhu to the Royal Society Foreign Membership.

This rather surreal event, held in the Great Hall of the People, was a momentous departure from the usual 350 year old ritual that now takes place at Carlton House Terrace each year. We think it’s the first time the ceremony has been held outside London, and certainly the first time in China.

Chen Zhu is the third Chinese scientist to be elected to the Royal Society Foreign membership and is elected for his contributions in to the treatment of leukaemia, both in the understanding of novel drug actions and their translation to clinical use. He pioneered the concept of synergistic cancer targeting therapy and provided the first successful model in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukaemia using all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide. Through in vitro studies of the mechanism of these drugs on leukaemia cells, he provided a rational approach to their action in inducing leukaemia cell differentiation and destruction. His contributions have turned this most fatal haematological malignancy to a curable disease.

My thanks go to our colleagues at the National People’s Congress for helping to make the event possible.

For more on the admittance ceremony and Charter book, see here.