Dr Wong Hin Seng is a Senior Consultant in Nephrology, Head of Department of Nephrology and Head of the Clinical Research Centre (CRC) in Hospital Selayang. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master in Medicine (Internal Medicine) from the National University of Malaysia and completed his postgraduate nephrology fellowship in Sheffield Kidney Institute, Sheffield, England in 1997.
He is currently the president of the Malaysian Society of Diagnostic & Interventional Nephrology (MSDIN), president of the Post Graduate Renal Society of Malaysia (PGRSM) and the past president of the Malaysian Society of Nephrology (MSN). He is also the chairman of the Malaysian Organ Sharing System (eMOSS), chief editor of the Malaysian Dialysis and Transplant Registry (MDTR), member of the National Nephrology Credentialing committee, member of the National Renal Registry (NRR) advisory committee, member of the steering committee of the Malaysian Registry of Renal Biopsy (MRRB) and a fellow of the Royal College of Physician of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia.
He has over 70 publications, delivered over 150 lectures at scientific meetings both locally and abroad, and presented over 160 research papers in local and international meetings. Dr. Wong has also been a principal investigator for over 20 industry sponsored research. His main focus of interests includes renal transplantation and diagnostic & interventional nephrology.
- What first sparked your interest in clinical research?
Though I started my first clinical research during my medical school but what sparked my interest in clinical research was during my nephrology fellowship training in the early 1990’s where the findings of my clinical study contradicted with what was considered a standard of care and it managed to change our treatment policy.
My first involvement in industry sponsored research (ISR) was in the mid 1990’s, which turned out to be a landmark study and that has further increased my passion for clinical research.
- How have clinical trials change your practice and management of patient care?
The requirements in conducting high quality clinical trials especially ISR have certainly improved and fine tuned my clinical practice. Having firsthand experience with new compounds during the development phase will provide confidence in using the drug when it is marketed. The ISR experience also enables me to conduct well-designed clinical trials required to improve the care of our patients.
- Why should doctors participate in clinical trials?
Participating in clinical trials is essential for every doctor as it will transform one to be a more medically matured and complete doctor. It will certainly change the life of a doctor, making it more interesting, exciting and satisfying. The success in converting my junior doctors to be researchers has been one of the high point in my career.
- What are the recent advances made in nephrology clinical research and how will it change the course of treatment in the future?
Currently there has been a lot of excitement over the role of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) in the management of renal anaemia especially its impact on cardiovascular outcome and this will certainly change the way nephrologists manage anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease in the future. However what every nephrologist is looking forward to, are advances in the field of diabetic kidney disease, which unfortunately is still lacking.
- Do you think that Malaysia has what it takes to be on par with the rest of Asia when it comes to conducting high quality clinical trials? If no, what are we still lacking and what can we leverage on? If yes, what can we do more?
Malaysians are certainly capable of conducting high quality clinical trials. However, we need to establish our reputation in research, and nurture and develop a pool of future investigators who are passionate and well-trained.
I also feel that it is now the right time for Malaysia to develop infrastructures and resources for the conduct of molecular, laboratory and animal research as this is the only way forward.