Prof Lee Soo Chin, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS), discussed the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer, a more aggressive form of breast cancer known to affect younger women, using drugs that target the HER2 protein. When HER2-targeted drugs are given together with conventional chemotherapy, the efficiency and effectiveness of chemotherapy is increased.
Dr Lim Er Luen, Senior Consultant, Emergency Medicine Department, NUH and Dr Lee Shir Ying, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) & Department of Laboratory Medicine, NUH shared how they met each other at work and how their work as doctors and patient care have been central to their relationship. They also shared how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their family life and tips to maintain a healthy relationship.
Mr Noel Tan, a caregiver of his wife who has cancer and is a patient of the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS), cycled 500 km around the island over the weekend of 19 and 20 December 2020, weathering through fair, hot and rainy weather as part of his Cyclist vs Cancer charity fundraiser. The aim was to raise funds for financially disadvantaged cancer patients and caregivers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The charity fundraiser raised about $70,000 and all proceeds will go to the NCIS Cancer Fund, which supports the centre’s needy cancer patients and cancer research.
Mr Noel Tan, a father-of-three and whose wife is a patient of NCIS and has cancer relapse, cycled 500 km around the island over the weekend of 19 and 20 December 2020 as part of his Cyclist vs Cancer charity fundraiser. The aim was to raise at least $51,000 for financially disadvantaged cancer patients and caregivers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All proceeds raised from the fundraising event would go to the NCIS Cancer Fund, which supports the centre’s needy cancer patients and cancer research.
From a computer model that predicts how likely patients are to fall over to a device that creates 3D holograms to assist doctors, the healthcare of the future is looking towards artificial intelligence (AI). These new developments were showcased last Friday (Dec 11) by the NUHS at the Singapore Healthcare AI Expo. NUH is working with collaborators to create an AI-enabled model that can analyse multitude of data and produce a faster, more comprehensive and more accurate prediction for falls risks for patients in wards. NUHS is also working with Microsoft and German company apoQlar on using 3D holographic imaging. Professor Ngiam Kee Yuan, Group Chief Technology Officer at NUHS said: “We designed it in a programmatic approach because we see more than on use for this such as in administration and education.” Prof Ngiam also leads a team of NUHS researchers as the only representatives for Singapore and Asia in 4CE, an international consortium studying the effects and epidemiology of Covid -19. AI is also having an impact on cancer treatment. For over two years, NUHS has been working with China-based Ping An Health Technology on a clinical decision platform for managing gastroesophageal cancers. Professor Jimmy So, Head of Surgical Oncology at NCIS shared how the current ‘gold standard’ for cancer treatments could be quite labour-intensive and resource-heavy. With the new platform, oncologists can enter a patient’s information and receive updated treatment recommendations.
Front-page article noted that as part of his Cyclist vs Cancer Charity Fundraiser, Mr Noel Tan will cycle a total of 500 km, or 250 km each day, over the weekend of 19 and 20 December 2020 to raise awareness of cancer care and raise funds for financially disadvantaged cancer patients. A primary caregiver to his wife who is currently undergoing a clinical trial treatment at NCIS for her gastric cancer, Mr Tan and his family have lived with cancer since 2016. Members of the public can support the campaign by donating via the giving.sg portal until 31 December 2020, and all proceeds will go to the NCIS Cancer Fund which supports NCIS’ needy cancer patients and cancer research.
Dr Yap Eng Soo, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, shared insights about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and venous thromboembolism (VTE), a broad term for blood clots that start in the veins. Dr Yap noted that with an ageing population and increasing obesity in the population, VTE cases will increase but increased awareness of VTE and better medical imaging may play a part in picking up more cases.
Together with her fiancé, Nurul Artika Raemi a breast cancer survivor who had undergone treatment at NCIS, returned to Chemotherapy Bay last Saturday to take pre-wedding shoot as it is the place where the couple had overcome the toughest phase of their relationship together. Ms Artika shared that, “Though it’s a place I don’t wish to visit as a patient again, it’s somewhere I never want to forget.” Lianhe Zaobao also cited comments by Dr Matilda Lee, Associate Consultant, Department of Haematology–Oncology, NCIS, that less than 5% of all breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women between 20 and 30 years old.
A group of researchers from the Institute for Digital Medicine (WisDM) at NUSMed, led by Professor Dean Ho, Director of WisDM, will tap their artificial intelligence (AI) platform to evaluate 12 locally available drugs to derive a combination that can be used to treat COVID-19. The interactive platform, known as IDentif.AI, leverages AI to calculate the most effective combination of drugs – along with their respective doses – from more than 530,000 possibilities. The researchers have also been able to leverage their AI technology to offer personalised treatments for cancer patients. Using another platform known as CURATE.AI, drug doses given to patients can be modulated to produce optimal results throughout the duration of their care.
NCIS is one of the partners of this year’s national breast cancer awareness month campaign, It’s Time For Breast Health. Led by the National Cancer Centre Singapore, the goal of the campaign is to encourage women to get active, on top of doing self-checks and getting screened.
Dr Lim Siew Eng, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, discussed about triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive cancer type that can afflict younger women. At NCIS, triple-negative breast cancers made up 8 per cent, or 164 patients, of all breast cancer cases seen between 2013 and 2017. Dr Lim also discussed the findings from a Phase Three clinical trial (IMpassion130) which has found that for advanced triple-negative breast cancer patients who test positive for a protein called PD-L1, adding a new immunotherapy drug to chemotherapy reduced the risk of the disease worsening by 38 per cent, compared to using just chemotherapy alone. Moreover, this was found to improve overall survival by seven months and increase the patients’ survival to 25 months. TODAY also featured NCIS patient Ms Wu Ying Ying who discovered that she has Stage 1 triple-negative breast cancer three years ago and had successfully undergone surgery to remove the tumour, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy that lasted around six months.
The NCIS organised a virtual Pink Plank Challenge, which saw the participation of Minister Grace Fu, Minister of State Sun Xueling, and MP Tin Pei Ling, to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for needy cancer patients. During the session, Minister Fu said that breast cancer is the most common cancer that affects Singaporean women, but it is easily preventable and treatable if detected early, and reminded women to go for regular screenings.
Lianhe Zaobao reported on a NCIS patient who survived triple-negative breast cancer. Dr Lim Siew Eng, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, commented that the risk of relapse for triple-negative breast cancer is low, and it could be considered as full recovery if there is no symptom for more than five years.
Prof Goh Boon Cher, Senior Consultant at NCIS, was asked to provide an independent expert opinion during the hearings of a negligence lawsuit against CGH.