A career in paediatric haematology

29 January 2016

Dr Anselm Chi Wai Lee (Croucher Fellowship 1990) is currently working as a Senior Consultant in Paediatric Haematology and Oncology at the Parkway Cancer Centre in Singapore.

Lee is a paediatrician with almost 30 years of experience in paediatric haematology and oncology, i.e. childhood blood diseases and cancer. He was awarded the Croucher Fellowship in 1990 to work as a Clinical Fellow at the Department of Haematology and Oncology at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London. “At that time, the main purpose was for me to get hands-on experience in bone marrow transplantation for children. But the exposure and training was quite broad, and the institute gave me great freedom to explore my interest not only in blood stem cell transplantation, but also various aspects in blood diseases and cancer,” described Lee. “One of the useful skills I explored at that time was to sit down in front of the microscope to read blood cells and decipher what’s wrong in the patient’s body.”

In 1991, Lee returned to Hong Kong and established the paediatric bone marrow transplantation programme under the Department of Paediatrics at Queen Mary Hospital. His team performed the first transplantation in the same year. In 1992, they carried out the first successful bone marrow transplantation for thalassaemia in Hong Kong. “I have not met that patient for a long time, but his friends told me he got married this year,” he recalled. He was also involved in the first successful case of umbilical cord blood transplantation in Hong Kong in 1994. The following year, Lee helped establish a comprehensive paediatric haematology and oncology service in Tuen Mun Hospital, a newly established regional hospital in Hong Kong at that time that looked after 1 million people in that district.

In 2006, he was approached when a private hospital in Singapore was looking for a paediatric haematologist to set up a new service including haematopoietic stem cell transplantation there. “It was a big challenge for me to leave my comfortable position and to set up something new. But the project was chillingly exciting and my heart told me I could bring my career to a different level. So, with the support of my wife and my son, I took up the offer and moved to Singapore in 2007.” Lee joined ParkwayHealth in Singapore and established the Children’s Haematology and Cancer Centre. The Centre is a private healthcare facility that provides highly specialised clinical care for children with cancers and blood diseases from all over the globe. Young patients in the Children’s Haematology and Cancer Centre receive personalised care that includes diagnostic evaluation, chemotherapy and other therapeutic interventions, as well as haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

“My wife says I am addicted to my job. I say to her I am addicted to my patients,” smiled Lee as he talked about his daily job running a full-scale paediatric haematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation service in the private healthcare institution. When asked about his future plans, Lee replied, “I will follow my heart. If I have to stop, I will stop. If not, I carry on. But I have a feeling that Singapore is not my final stop.”

Graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong in 1986, Lee received his postgraduate training in the University Paediatric Unit at Queen Mary Hospital. He was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) in the United Kingdom in 1989. Lee also received postgraduate training in paediatric haematology and oncology in the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Institute of Child Health, the University of London in 1990-1991. He has been recognised as a Specialist in Paediatrics under the Medical Council of Hong Kong since 1993. Lee is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (FRCPCH), the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (FHKAM), and the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS). He has also been a member of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (formerly known as the United Kingdom Children’s Cancer Study Group), and the Hong Kong Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Study Group. He was the Chairman of the Hong Kong Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Study Group from 2002 to 2004. Lee has published over 100 papers in indexed, peer-reviewed journals.

To view Anselm Lee’s personal Croucher profile, please click here.