Why Singapore is the next big name at the forefront of cancer research and early detection
As seen on Mashable, originally published on 4 Jan 2016.
National Cancer Institute & Public Affairs
Singapore is no newcomer to healthcare innovation. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, the city-state ranks first for the most efficient healthcare system out of 51 countries.
And recent advancements and discoveries are catapulting the Lion City to the forefront of the healthcare arena, even more so than in years prior.
Below, we've outlined a few Singaporean innovations and landmarks that are leading a global push toward curing cancer and developing early detection methods.
Singaporean innovations in cancer research
Even as more money and time is directed toward cancer research around the world, there's still much we don't know about certain cancers, especially how they vary by geographic region.
In Asia, rates of newly diagnosed liver, esophageal and stomach cancers are significantly higher than in other parts of the world.China alone accounts for nearly half the world's cases of these cancers. The U.S., by comparison, represents just 4% for each.
Because of the high burden of cancer in Asia and the geographic variations, many Singaporean medical research labs have turned their attention toward identifying the genes and molecular pathways of Asian cancers.
This year, Professors Patrick Tan and Steve Rozen from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and Professor Teh Bin Tean from National Cancer Center Singapore were awarded the President's Science Award for their near-decade of research on Asian malignancies.
Together, the team of doctors identified gene mutations, molecular signatures and environmental catalysts associated with liver, stomach, breast, bladder and biliary tract cancers, leading to improved methods for diagnosis and treatment. On an international stage, Rozen, Teh and Tan were invited to the International Cancer Genome Consortium to direct programs related to their findings.
Additionally, scientists and doctors working in a combined study between NCCS, the Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore General Hospital, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, the National University of Singapore and the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore discovered a new genetic method of detecting colorectal cancer, the most common form of cancer among men in Singapore, before it metastasizes.
New, customized blood tests developed by the researchers use mutated genes specific to each patient to find cancer cells instead of tumor markers, which are not reliable indicators of cancer.
Singapore researchers also recently uncovered key findings behind one type of breast cancer, fibroepithelial tumours. The new findings may help enhance diagnostic accuracy and improve clinical treatment for patients; today, breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects women in Singapore, and one of the leading cancers in women around the world.
Innovations sparking attendance at medical events
Due to the innovations arising within the region as well as the world-renowned healthcare system that the city-state boasts, Singapore attracts a myriad of medical professionals and healthcare-focused companies.
MEDLAB Asia Pacific, supported by Informa Life Sciences, the organisers of Arab Health and Africa Health, is an opportunity for the medical technology community to come together and discuss groundbreaking products, materials and services related to the field of healthcare and cancer research. The exhibition is a platform for leading global and Asia-based companies to showcase their offerings, latest developments and high-tech solutions. 2016's event will be the third edition in Singapore; it will take place from March 22-24.
Another event that celebrates medical innovations is BioPharma Asia, which will take place over the same dates as MEDLAB Asia Pacific. This convention is a leading platform for pharmas, biotechs, CMOs, research institutes, investors and other healthcare industry shareholders to unite and discuss both industry trends and investment opportunities specific to the Asian market. The event is an opportunity for biopharmaceutical professionals to establish strong and strategic partnerships; this year's convention is the ninth such event held in Singapore.
Interested in attending any of the above events or learning more about the rapidly growing healthcare industry in Singapore? Learn more here.