The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) marks its 15th anniversary with a two-day family carnival, “NCIS Celebrates Life,” held on November 4 and 5, 2023, at Suntec City Atrium (Tower 3 & 4). The event is dedicated to honoring the institution’s journey in cancer care and cutting-edge translational research.
Graced by Guest of Honour, Ms Jane Ittogi, “NCIS Celebrates Life” not only commemorates NCIS’ remarkable 15-year journey but also showcases the institution’s pioneering work in setting new standards of cancer care in Singapore. The carnival aims to highlight NCIS’ collective achievements, honor cancer survivors, educate the public on cancer treatment advancements, and raise funds for ongoing cancer research initiatives.
Executive Director of NCIS, Adjunct Associate Professor Chee Cheng Ean, shared, “By tracing our own journey as a national centre setting new standards of cancer care, our aim is for NCIS Celebrates Life to inspire hope and raise awareness about the ongoing fight against cancer. It is a reflection of our dedication to advancing cancer research and treatment, propelling us towards a future where every patient finds hope and healing.”
Over the past 15 years, NCIS has evolved from an oncology department within the National University Hospital to a major national specialist centre for cancer. It stands as the sole public cancer centre in Singapore offering comprehensive care for both adults and children under one roof. This integrated approach, facilitated by a dedicated team of clinician-scientists and clinician-investigators, allows for a multidisciplinary, personalized approach to cancer treatment. Currently, NCIS serves approximately one in three cancer patients within Singapore’s public healthcare system.
One of NCIS’ significant contributions to cancer care is its involvement in over 200 clinical trials at any given point. These trials explore cutting-edge treatments, including a trial utilizing technology to predict patient responses to drug combinations, potentially sparing up to 70% of patients from unnecessary treatments.
Notable trials include the quadratic phenotypic optimisation platform (QPOP), an AI-driven platform launched in 2022 to identify patient-specific drug combinations. Additionally, the Haplo-17 protocol offers new possibilities for blood cancer patients who lack perfectly-matched stem cell donors. Moreover, NCIS is set to embark on a first-in-human trial for CAR-T cell therapy using cells from healthy donors, a promising avenue for various cancers.
The NCIS Cancer Fund, a sub-fund of the NUHS Fund, plays a vital role in advancing cancer care accessibility. Since its inception in 2016, it has supported 440 patients with close to $1.8 million. Through initiatives like the NCIS Celebrates Life carnival and other fundraising platforms, NCIS aims to raise $20 million over the next five years.
A/Prof Chee emphasized, “While there’s no one-size-fits-all cure for cancer, having personalized therapies will ensure that NCIS continues setting new standards for cancer care in Singapore.”
Web-based mobile game to raise funds
In a bid to further educate and engage the community, NCIS has also unveiled “NCIS Fights Cancer,” a web-based mobile game designed to raise funds for the NCIS Cancer Fund while providing players with valuable information on cancer prevention and screening.
Players can participate by visiting www.ncis.com.sg/LetsPlay, with top scorers standing a chance to win attractive prizes sponsored by Razer.