In our last issue, we broke the news that after a brief hiatus, plasma testing would begin again on May 16, 2011. This action is due to months-long exhaustive efforts by the Life Raft Group and Dr. Linyee Shum of TDM Pharmaceutical Research to resume this process as quickly as possible without putting financial burden on the patient. We wanted to show the GIST community Dr. Shum’s persevering and generous nature by profiling him in our newsletter.
Dr. Linyee Shum’s career path began the moment he was born. It appeared he was destined to be an engineer and was encouraged to pursue it since early childhood. He even majored in mechanical engineering during his freshmen year of college. However, he took an unexpected turn on his journey. Dr. Shum earned bachelor degrees in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, specializing in Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He pursued his Ph.D. not so much for the title of being a doctor but as a logical step to further develop his critical thinking skills.
And it is these critical thinking skills that have enabled Dr. Shum to tackle the frontier of science to improve the quality of life for all mankind. For over 25 years, he has been paving the way of pharmaceutical research and development. His focus has been in ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination), pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamics and protein binding. Dr. Shum has been involved in plasma level testing since his early years as an undergraduate when pharmacokinetics was still in its infancy. At the hospitals in Buffalo, he and his colleagues set up a therapeutic drug monitoring service to observe patients that had a narrow therapeutic index (low safety margin).
Dr. Shum feels that plasma level test-ing will pave the way for medicine in the 21st century. As he detailed, “The one size fits all mentality does not work in today’s drug treatments because we know better, and we have the means to tell us otherwise. We as humans have a diverse genetic makeup. We are all different as well as individually unique. Our bodies process drugs differently and react to drugs differently. Moreover, today’s medicines are more potent than ever. A proper therapeutic concentration must be maintained to ensure an effective treatment and minimize adverse side effects. This will ultimately improve the quality of lives of patients. This has to be the passion of every health care provider.”
Dr. Shum’s passions are not exclusive to the laboratory. He is a very outdoorsy person and loves camping, “Jeeping (in designated areas, of course!)”, winter sports, scuba diving, offshore sailing and photography during his spare time.