First breast cancer cell bank opens in Singapore

PHOTO: First breast cancer cell bank opens in Singapore

SINGAPORE - In a first, a breast cancer cell bank has been set up in Singapore to help develop better understanding of tumours and treatment options for breast cancer.

This newly established facility - set up by the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) - will house primary culture tumour cell lines from patients in Singapore.

These samples will be made available to all local and regional cancer research centres.

"At present, there are no samples that fairly represent breast cancer in Asians as there have been no lab tested models that exist which significantly represent this. Through this initiative, we aim to design therapies that will benefit all breast cancer sufferers and particularly focusing on Asian patient populations," said Dr Pieter Eichhorn, Lead Principal Investigator at the CSI and Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

"The research at CSI will identify novel drug combinations that will overcome the limitations observed presently, hence leading to better outcomes in breast cancer patients overall."

Healthcare technology company Philips made a donation to help establish the facility.

"Philips is honoured to be a part of the establishment of the first Breast Cancer Cell Bank in Singapore with the funds we've raised through our breast cancer awareness campaign in 2013. We are convinced that through this study and the research conducted, valuable insights will be gained that would help enhance clinical outcomes and improve the quality of life of Singaporean and Asian women," said Mr Arjen Radder, President Philips Healthcare Asia Pacific.

By 2015, CSI aims to collect 25 unique breast cancer cell samples and establish the Breast Cancer Cell Bank as a research facility for researchers and clinicians, both in Singapore and internationally.