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May 2018

国大研究高血压新药 注入一次免吃药一个月

Researchers from the NUS Medicine showed that Galectin-1, a protein in our body, influences the function of another protein known as L-type (Cav1.2) calcium channel found on the arteries that normally acts to contract the blood vessels. By reducing the activity of these calcium channels, Galectin-1 is able to lower blood pressure. The research was published online in the April 2018 issue of Circulation. This study was led by Professor Soong Tuck Wah from the Department of Physiology together with Dr Hu Zhenyu, the lead author of the study.


Associate Professor James Yip, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore, said that, “calcium channel blockers (CCB) are the most popular class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure because of their good side effect profile and their efficacy. However, many patients are troubled by side effects like leg swelling. Galectin-1-specific drugs has the potential for improved control with less side effects.” 





When conventional cancer treatment doesn’t work on kids

The article is contributed by Dr Tan Poh Lin, discusses new treatment for young cancer patients when conventional cancer treatment does not work on them. She explains that new treatments that are being tested in clinical trials include high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, all of which are being evaluated for the cancer that one of her patient had.


The Straits Times, 15 May 2018, B9

Study may change care of heart patients

Doctors can now identify heart failure patients who are likely to survive longer with proper care, thanks to a study carried out in Singapore and New Zealand. The results of the research, which looked at different types of the condition, could change the way up to one in three heart failure patients is cared for. The seven-year study of more than 2,000 patients found that the ejection fraction - the amount of blood pumped out when the heart contracts - is the deciding factor. Close to one in three patients has preserved ejection fraction, which is now known to result in longer-term survival. Their hearts squeeze well, but do not relax so well - meaning less blood gets in. The study also identified levels of a hormone in the blood produced by the heart as a powerful and independent predictor of death, regardless of the type of heart failure. Knowing that people with preserved ejection fraction have a better chance of survival, doctors may work harder to lower the level of this hormone in such patients. Professor Mark Richards, a key researcher in the study, and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the National University Health System said that it is often difficult for doctors and patients to accept the number of drugs - usually three - needed to get the patient to the ideal level, especially when the patient feels fine. He said the results mean doctors can now be more confident when they prescribe drugs. Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director of the National University Heart Centre, Singapore added that information from the study will affect service and care, as well as planning and budgeting for hospitals.


The Straits Times, 8 May 2018, Page B2

Doc why am I so short of Breath?

A contributed article by Professor A Mark Richards, Director, CVRI of the NUHCS on how the diagnostic tool, NT-proBNP blood test is an accurate test for detecting heart failure.  Heart failure is a serious problem which can respond well to treatment if it is recognised early, and managed quickly and properly. But, heart failure can be hard to recognize. Prof Richards is the discoverer of NT-proBNP and his study has shown that the diagnostic tool, the NT-proBNP blood test, which helps accelerate detection and proper management of heart failure here in Asia, even more effectively than in western countries.


The Straits Times, 1 May 2018, Page B7


April 2018

为完成临终病患心愿 医生设义工小组获仁心奖

Dr Choo Bok Ai, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation-Oncology, NCIS was featured in this article and he shared about how his encounter with a cervical cancer patient with two young children four years ago, motivated him to set up “Dream Makers” project to help terminally ill cancer patients fulfilled their wishes.

Dr Choo is among the recipients of the “Honourable Mention” award at the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2018.


Lianhe Zaobao, 30 April 2018, Page 9


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Childhood Obesity and the Indian kid

A contributed article by Dr Senthil Subbian, Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, NUHCS, about how childhood obesity could lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, serious heart disease and sleep disorders. Dr. Senthil encourages parents to get their children to consume a well-balanced meal as well as at least 60 minutes of intense physical activity every day.


Tabla!, 27 April 2018, Page 12


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New Dean Appointed for NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

The National University of Singapore has announced the appointment of A/Prof Chong Yap Seng as the 17th Dean of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) from 1 January 2019. He succeeds A/Prof Yeoh Khay Guan, who will be assuming full-time duties as the Deputy Chief Executive of the National University Health System of which the School is a founding institution. A/Prof Chong is Vice-Dean (Academic Medicine) at NUS Medicine, and concurrently Senior Consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the National University Hospital. He is also the Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).


The Straits Times, 26 April 2018, Page B4


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Couple with Colorectal Cancer Prompt Study by S’pore Team

NCIS colorectal cancer patients, Madam Phang Yoke Fah and Mr Lie Tjoen-Jong,  were diagnosed with colorectal cancer within a year of each other, prompting future research to see if genetics or environmental factors are to blame.

Dr. Tan Ker Kan, Consultant at the Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery), NCIS, lead author of the study, mentioned that some of the well-established risk factors of colorectal cancer included unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits. With majority of colorectal cancer patients in their late 60s to early 80s, these lifestyles would be shared with their spouses since their marriage. Both Dr. Tan and Mr. Lie strongly encouraged early colorectal cancer screening, with the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2015 showing the morality rate of colorectal cancer decreased due to early detection and advances in treatment.  


The Straits Times, 2 April 2018, Page A3


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March 2018

Early Screening Key to Colorectal Cancer Detection

A contributed article by Dr. Raghav Sundar, Associate Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology NCIS, about how early screening is important to colorectal cancer detection. 


Tabla!, 30 March 2018, Page 11


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Fighting cancer through awareness and screening

The NCIS 10 Ribbon Challenge event on 24 March 2018 and showcased NCIS entered the Singapore Book of Records by collecting 10,125 ribbon pledges in support of cancer patients. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS, spoke about how the pledge of 10,000 ribbons was a way to show support to the fight against cancer and importantly, not only to educate the public on cancer, but also to get them and their families to pledge to go for early cancer screening.  


The Business Times, 28 March 2018, Pg. 38

Ageing one possible factor that may cause cancer

A two part contributed article by Dr. Angela Pang, Consultant at the Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS.

Part one,  老化是致癌因素之一, shares about geriatric oncology and the relationship between ageing and cancer. Part two, 根据年龄筛检癌症, shares about cancer screening, the recommended HPB screening guidelines and the risk factors of cancer. 


Guidance and support key to beating cancer in old age

A contributed article by Dr Angela Pang, medical oncology consultant at the Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, spoke about how proper guidance and support from a dedicated healthcare team and family members are important in helping the elderly who are diagnosed with cancer.  


The Straits Times, 20 March 2018, Page. B11

Vital to check for colorectal cancer: Doctor

Dr Chee Cheng Ean, consultant at the department of Haematology-Oncology at NCIS, spoke about how young people can also get colorectal cancer due to diet and lifestyle. However, despite the increase in cases, morality rate has dropped due to the advancement in treatments and screening. Dr. Chee also spoke about the misconception of cancer and its symptoms, saying that there are no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer.  


The New Paper, 19 March 2018, Page 15

Faster, affordable care at clinic for chronic conditions

A clinic offering affordable and faster care has been a boon for Choa Chu Kang residents with chronic conditions since it opened in April last year. Keat Hong Family Medicine Clinic, officially opened on 15 March 2018, helps patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and also provides physiotherapy, ultrasound scans and health screenings. The clinic sees nearly 1,500 patients every month, 60 per cent of whom have chronic conditions. Besides walk-in patients, it also gets patients who are referred by a hospital or polyclinic. Close to 2,500 patients have chosen to have their cases transferred there from the nearby Choa Chu Kang polyclinic. The clinic is funded by MOH and in care partnership with the National University Health System.


The Straits Times, 15 March 2018, Home News Page B3


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New drug a boost for blood cancer patients

Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS shared that a new drug for multiple myeloma will be cheaper and increased survival rates for myeloma patients. He explained that the new drug is currently only approved for relapse treatment, its side effects are relatively small, to a certain extent, to maintain the quality of life, the price is also cheaper and increased survival rates for patients. The NCIS is currently conducting a new clinical trial to add another cheaper drug to the carfilzomib-containing drug combination, hoping to further lower prices and help patients cope with high medical costs in the future.



February 2018

Unlocking Secrets To Longevity

According to the Department of Statistics (DOS), there were 1,200 Singaporeans aged 100 and above as of last June. The proportion of centenarians among Singaporeans has surged by 18 times from 1990. 


What accounts for Singaporeans’ longevity? Research is ongoing in what else plays a role, besides factors such as medical advances in disease treatment, and accessibility to good medical care.


The SG90 Longevity Study, a 10-year study by A*Star and the National University Health System (NUHS) involving about 1,500 Singaporeans aged 90 and above, has found though women tend on the whole to live longer than men, Singaporean men appear to be healthier in old age than Singaporean women. Preliminary results of the study found Singaporean men were less likely to have impaired cognition (30 per cent, compared with 39 per cent in women) and more likely to be independent in their daily activities (47 per cent compared with 34 per cent in women). More men had a positive outlook on their health, and were less depressed than women.


The Straits  Times, 16 Feb Page B6


Getting red in the face may be a red flag

Asian flush condition, the genetic predisposition to turning red in the face after alcohol is consumed, affects one in three Singaporeans, and is associated with an increased risk in cancer. 

Dr Kim Guo Wei, associate consultant at NCIS’ Division of Surgical Oncology (Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery), says affected people lack an enzyme to metabolise alcohol completely, leading carcinogenic compounds to remain in the body. Dr Ong Lizhen, consultant in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at NUH says such patients are subject to a higher risk of gastrointestinal cancers should they continue to consume alcohol.



January 2018

New polyclinic serves more Jurong residents

Pioneer Polyclinic was officially opened by Minister Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health on Saturday, 27 January 2018. With this new polyclinic, residents of Jurong West now have more convenient access to quality care closer to their homes. An art mural, a collaboration between NUP and its community partners, was unveiled, and a Kids’ Work Experience programme was conducted to expose young children to the various jobs and roles in healthcare. Mr Cedric Foo, Adviser, Pioneer GROs and Mr Patrick Tay, Adviser, Boon Lay GROs also attended the Official Opening.


  • The Straits Times, 28 January 2018, pA15
  • The Straits Times, 27 January 2018, pA2
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远程医疗 现状与未来发展

This is the second part of the article written by Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, on the growth of telemedicine. Through remote monitoring, patients with atrial fibrillation can do a blood test on their own and transmit the results by mobile phone to the hospital. The trained nurses will guide them in terms of adjusting the medication dosage. This helps to reduce the need for the patients to make the trip to the hospital and enhances patients’ satisfaction.  Tele monitoring also helps patients to control hypertension, and reduces re-admission rate. Patients with implanted pacemakers can also do follow-up through a special remote monitor, transmit data to the hospital’s monitoring centre for their cardiologists to monitor. 


Watching children grow up with GUSTO

Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes, or GUSTO, was launched in 2009, with the help of 1,247 babies and mothers. Led by researchers in the National University Health System, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences, GUSTO is one of the most detailed birth cohort studies in the world. The study has since yielded 169 papers published in scientific journals, and its findings have changed national health policy. Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng, who leads the study, shared insights on the establishment of the study, its challenges and future plans for the study.



The article is written by Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, on how technology has allowed for the growth of telemedicine, where health practitioners can treat patients through the Internet and remote monitoring. In the management of heart disease, patients could use mobile apps to determine medical conditions and take necessary action, such as calling for an ambulance. The phone’s global positioning system, or GPS, could allow the ambulance to easily locate the patient as well. This will aid in the treatment of emergency heart disease cases.



The article is written by Dr Michelle Poon, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, and she shares about blood cancer and how stem cell transplant may be a treatment option for patients with blood cancer.


New way to better predict stomach cancer

A research team led by National University Health System (NUHS) and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore has used genomic technologies to better understand intestinal metaplasia (IM), a known risk factor for gastric (stomach) cancer. Patients with IM are six times more likely to develop stomach cancer than those without. The research, published in one of the top cancer research journals, Cancer Cell, could also help detect patients who are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is also linked to the disease.


Non-toxic spring cleaning

Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS), contributed an article on cancer screening and discussed the reliability of using cancer markers to diagnose cancer.


Cancer treatment in the comfort of home

Profile of an NCIS’ patient, Mr Wong Yek Wan receiving cancer treatment in the comfort of his home. He is one of about 50 patients getting home cancer treatment under the NCIS community and home care programme. NCIS nurses make more 1,000 trips a year to treat cancer patients outside of the hospital. The majority are home visits, with the rest done in the community, such as at polyclinics. 


Cheaper option for bone marrow transplants?

Blood cancer patients may be able to select a cheaper option for bone marrow transplants as the MediShield Life Review Committee will review whether the cover should be extended to outpatient treatment. Prof Chng Wee Joo, Director, NCIS, shared NCIS’ innovative model of care of moving care from inpatient to outpatient and to home/community care with the Straits Times, and added that there would be plans to expand outpatient stem cell treatment to lymphoma patients this year. This move would reduce the need for expensive hospital facilities and benefit patients. The hospital frees up bed and clinic space so more patients can be treated. Patients are saved the trip to the hospital and exposure to infections.