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 >

Transplantation Medicine Symposium  
Transplantation For The Future


 Track type: Symposium


 Duration: 90 minutes


 Location: Academia, Level 1, L1-S3


Topic 1:

Academic Transplantation – From Dreams to Reality

Prof Stuart Johnston Knechtle


Organ transplantation requires a multi-disciplinary team to work effectively together to accomplish complex patient evaluation, surgical procedures, and post-transplant care.  Although a variety of methods have been developed to achieve these ends, common principles include joint patient care by surgical and medical disciplines, dependence on supportive hospital services including pathology, blood bank, tissue typing, radiology, interventional radiology, paediatrics, intensive care, psychiatry and psychology, social services, nursing services, and dedicated transplant coordinators. In other words, most of the services provided by tertiary care centres must function well in order for a transplant programme to thrive. Therefore, a successful transplant programme implies a well-managed healthcare system. 


Traditional silos of medical care may not be ideally suited for supporting a transplant centre, and adapting structures to allow more flexibility to meet the needs of a transplant program may help transplantation flourish. Alignment of incentives to encourage growth, development of quality metrics to measure improved care, well-designed IT support systems, and continual process improvement are administrative goals of leading transplant programmes. The merging of research and clinical missions within a transplant centre requires leadership to constantly demonstrate the importance of the contributions of both scientific and clinical members of the team, and to elevate the collective mission of the centre above individual contributions.


Topic 2:
Uterine Transplantation – The New Kid on the Block

Assoc Prof Tan Hak Koon

Since 1970s, researchers around the world have been exploring on the possibility of uterine transplantation as a treatment option for uterine infertile patients. The major causes of uterine infertility are congenital absence of uterus (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome), previous hysterectomy and severe intrauterine adhesions. Despite medical advancement in infertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilisation, major forms of uterine infertility have remained untreatable. The first recorded livebirth after uterine transplant in 2014 is a major milestone in uterine infertility treatment. Assoc Prof Tan Hak Koon will present Singapore General Hospital’s journey on uterine transplant and plans for its future. 


Topic 3: 

Composite Tissue Allotransplantation – A Brave New World for Transplantation in Singapore

Assoc Prof Tan Bien Keem

Patients who have severe facial disfigurement or amputated hands now have the hope of receiving hand or face transplants to alleviate their distress and disability. More than 20 face transplants and at least 60 hand transplants have been performed globally to date.
Presently, we are collaborating with NUH to develop a National Transplant Programme. Hand and Face Transplants are complex surgeries involving different types of tissues, unlike solid organ transplantation. Skin, muscles, bone, tendons, nerves and blood vessels have to be connected for a successful transplant. While the indications for this complex surgery are still being debated, breakthroughs in immune tolerance in the future will see a greater drive for the assimilation of this technique.
We organised the first Hand/ Face transplant update from 9th to 11th November 2015, where experts Drs Kuo Yur-Ren (Taiwan) and Iyer Subramania (India) shared their experiences. Dr Ng Zhi-Yang (Plastic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital) who is on a 2-year research programme in Massachusetts General Hospital discussed a mixed chimerism animal model for immune tolerance. Mock surgeries were carried out in the cadaveric laboratory. A hind limb transplantation in the swine model was carried out on the third day. A second update is being planned in July 2016.

Topic 4:

Ethical Challenges of Emerging Transplantation Therapies 

Dr Crystal Lim

Transplantation medicine has advanced beyond lifesaving therapy for end organ failure to offer life-enhancing therapies such as face, hand and uterus transplants. However, the removal of an organ from a person’s body—whether from a living or a deceased donor—to benefit its recipient poses ethical complexities and conflicts. They chiefly concern the ethical principles of non-maleficence, beneficence and autonomy of the individual. Distributive justice, such as allocation of scarce organs and access to transplantation, is another ethical consideration. Risk-taking therapy to enhance quality of life appears to introduce different dimensions of ethical problems.
Yet, closer scrutiny of emerging transplant therapies reveals similar attendant ethical challenges as those of established organ transplantations. The assertion is that ethical justification for transplant should not lie in whether it is lifesaving or life enhancing because this would be a value judgement. Instead, an appraisal of its ethical appropriateness requires weighing and balancing of the risks and benefits of the therapy for each case, as well as consideration of normative values and ethical principles. While it may be circumspect to tread these emerging therapies with comparative caution because of a lack of experience at this nascent stage, it would not be judicious to reject them altogether. The immense benefits we reap from organ transplantation today would have been denied humanity if transplantation was shunned because of its ethical problems when it was first performed over 60 years ago.
Like the predecessors, we are to embrace the inherent ethical complexity and challenges of transplantation and consider ways to mitigate them so that future generations can continue to benefit from new transplant therapies as they emerge.
*Information is correct at time of update