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Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) Conference

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Group photo of the SGH Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

 As a Senior Resident in the SingHealth Gastroenterology Residency, I had the pleasure of attending the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) Conference in Tokyo this February.

It was a good time off from my usual routine to learn about exciting academic breakthroughs in my field. Among the series of inspiring lectures, there was one in particular, which caught my attention. It was on the recent discovery of Sodium Taurocholate Co-Transporting Polypeptide (NTCP), which serves as a functional receptor for the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) to support its replication. Based on this new understanding of the HBV viral replication cycle, new exciting drugs, notably Myrcludex B, a HBV viral entry inhibitor, is in the pipeline and may be a potential cure for HBV in time to come!

Another interesting lecture was devoted to treatment of Hepatitis C. International experts were invited to share their research and opinions in handling challenging cases. Personally, I found it immensely informative as it gave a concise summary of updated evidence on various direct-acting antiviral (DAAs) in comparison with current Interferon-based regimens.

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At my poster with my programme director and supervisor, Dr Jason Chang (on the right)

During the conference, I was also given an opportunity to present my poster in an interactive-moderated poster walkabout. It was an enriching experience, where I learnt how best to share my research while answering questions on the spot. The poster and oral sessions were also good platforms to understand the latest research in various fields.

Overall, I found the experience very educational. Being sent for this overseas trip not only helped me in my daily clinical practice, it also allowed me to share my academic research with the rest of the medical community. I also managed to take in some of the sights so it was a business AND pleasure trip! I am grateful to my department, MOHH and SingHealth Residency for making this possible.

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Scenic view at my day trip to Shirakawa-go after the conference