Scientific Programme




     Pre- and Post-Congress Workshops










The SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress is different from other congress in the sense that many of the congresses we attend tends to be sub-specialised. However, this Congress has a little of everything and it allows the entire SingHealth community, together with our partner, Duke-NUS, to come together to share experiences.








~ Assoc Prof Loo Chian Min
Chief Medical Informatics Officer, SingHealth


Programme >

Oncology Symposium
New Frontiers in Oncology


 Track type: Symposium


 Duration: 90 minutes


 Location: Academia, Level 1, Auditorium


Topic 1:

Will We Ever Cure Cancer?  The Promise and Perils of Cancer Immunotherapy

Dr Amit Jain

Cancer immunotherapy is now a mainstream cancer therapeutic option with several checkpoint inhibitors approved, while the whole field has experienced somewhat of a renaissance. While the demonstration of durable remissions in patients with incurable cancers has been unprecedented, the actual percentage of patients who respond both in clinical trials and real world context has been somewhat disappointingly low. Nevertheless, a new breadth and depth of pre-clinical and clinical research has uncovered a more comprehensive understanding of the interaction between the immune system and cancer. Briefly, genomic characterisation of cancer has led to the ability to define targetable neoantigens, and to interrogate for cancer specific immune cells. Therapeutic strategies now include immune checkpoint inhibitors, as well as cell therapies, peptide and nucleic acid vaccines, oncolytic viruses, as well as bispecific antibodies. Finally, the field is actively pursuing the use of combinatorial strategies where conventional anti-cancer therapies namely radiation, chemotherapy, and small molecule inhibitors are being used synergistically with immunotherapy. The speaker will summarise key concepts within the field as well as highlight these promising new emerging strategies in the field using lung cancer as a context.


Topic 2:

Clinical Cancer Genetics: Truth or Consequences

Dr Joanne Ngeow

From the vantage point of 2016, it is difficult to imagine a time when cancer was not widely accepted as a genetic disease, in the most basic sense of being caused by alterations in the structure and function of genes. Indeed, it was not until the second half of the 20th century that the heritable nature of common cancers started to be widely accepted. Currently, over 400 hereditary cancer susceptibility syndromes have been described, the majority of which are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Although many of these are rare syndromes, they are thought to account for at least 5–10% of all cancer, amounting to a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality in the human population. Taking breast cancer as an example, in addition to BRCA1 and BRCA 2, we now know of various other genes conferring an increased risk of female breast cancer involved in hereditary cancer syndromes include PTEN, TP53, STK11, CDH1, NF1 and many others associated with moderate risks of developing breast cancer. We will review and update on the latest developments and challenges in the management of hereditary cancers in Singapore.

Topic 3: 

Lung Cancer: From Bench to Bedside

Dr Daniel Tan

Lung cancer is a heterogeneous disease. In the last decade, substantial progress has been made in defining molecularly distinct patient subsets, opening new therapeutic opportunities through a deeper understanding of the unique biology of each group. As a result, there have been significant changes in diagnostic and clinical management paradigms, requiring enhanced inter-disciplinary interaction to optimise patient care. The integration of molecular profiling into clinical care has provided the backdrop for accelerated drug development and rapidly evolving treatment standards; and I will highlight how local research efforts are poised to address contemporary challenges in precision oncology.


Topic 4:


Advances in Systemic Therapy in Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer


 Speaker: Dr Justina Lam


Worldwide, GI malignancies account for more than 4 million new cases out of 14 million people diagnosed with cancer annually. Each year, 33% of cancer related mortality is attributable to GI malignancies. Great strides have been made over the last decade in understanding the distinct biology of each GI malignancy. Data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and integrated omic analysis of collaborative institutions have revolutionised how we classify GI cancers. With this data, efforts in better patient selection for therapies as well as development of targeted agents can be accelerated. Whilst largely considered a poorly immunogenic malignancy, immunotherapy is being explored in certain GI cancers with encouraging preliminary findings.


*Information is correct at time of update