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Research & Education

Developmental Therapeutics Unit (DTU)

Developmental Therapeutics Unit (DTU)


The NCIS DTU comprises a team of clinicians, nurses, allied health professionals and scientists, who work in a multi-disciplinary team to ensure utmost standards of safety in conducting early phase trials. 

The DTU team currently run a dedicated clinic every Monday and Thursday and meet weekly to discuss the clinical progress of each DTU patient on studies and any other trial related issues. Through the Yong Siew Yoon grant, we have also been able to develop a training fellowship programme in cancer drug development in the DTU.

About DTU

The establishment of the NCIS DTU has already helped attract interest from drug companies seeking academic partners who have the appropriate infrastructure in place to support early phase trials in Asia. This has in turn benefited our patients by giving them access to cutting-edge anti-cancer drugs. 

All of our medical oncologists in the team are also leading experts in specific tumour types and hence provide added clinical and scientific insights into the management of each patient referred to the DTU. 

Given that many of the currently tested compounds target a specific molecular pathway aberration in cancer cells, patients in our DTU early phase trials are also offered molecular profiling of their tumours via our integrated molecular analysis of cancer (IMAC) program to identify these "actionable" molecular aberrations in the tumour cells so that, based on their tumour molecular profile, patients can then be matched to the most appropriate drug in early phase clinical trials. 

Finding and developing the next generation of anti-cancer drugs. The next era of oncological therapy will inevitably evolve from a better understanding of the molecular aberrations in cancers allied with technologies that will facilitate a rapid and comprehensive characterization of the unique biological features of each cancer patient's tumour. The challenge for oncologists is to leverage on this wealth of scientific information to develop more effective therapeutic options for patients via well-designed and expertly executed early phase studies. The NCIS DTU is now fully equipped to embrace this challenge and lead the development of new drugs in the fight against cancer.