Oral Cancer
Oral cancer accounts for 11% of cancer-related deaths in South and Southeast Asia, but only 4% on a global scale. Our cancer research team aims to identify the genetic drivers behind the development and progression of oral cancer. These discoveries help in finding more accurate ways of diagnosing cancer, providing more effective and personalised treatments.
Our Oral Cancer Research team here at CRM aims to:
  • Develop immunotherapy that will prevent and treat oral cancers
  • Develop a mobile app for early detection of oral cancers
  • Find the Achilles heel of oral cancers
  • Develop repurposed drugs for oral cancers

How we’ve made a difference

  1. Developed oral cancer cell lines, which are now being used in 16 different groups around the world. These valuable resources help scientists understand how cancers develop, and what drugs could be potent in treating them.
  2. Identified unique cancer proteins found in tumour cells, which can be used to stimulate the patient’s immune system in fighting cancer.
  3. Developed a cancer vaccine that is currently in preclinical testing, with expectations to introduce it to human clinical trials soon.
  4. Demonstrated that mobile phone apps may be feasible in promoting early detection of oral cancer in rural communities.

What we’re doing now

  1. Professor Cheong Sok Ching and her team are collaborating with Dr. Ultan McDermott at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (United Kingdom) to systematically identify the genes that cause oral cancers to flourish and grow. Using CRISPR / Cas9 technology, the team is systematically removing one gene at a time in cancer cells to identify the Achilles heel of cancer. Our aim is to be able to find these genes, and begin developing novel drugs that could treat oral cancers more effectively.
  2. Dr. Lim Kue Peng and her team are collaborating with Professor Gareth Thomas and Dr. Christian Ottensmeier at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) to develop a vaccine for the prevention and treatment of oral cancer. These vaccines are developed with our knowledge of cancer proteins that are unique to oral cancer, and serves as a beacon for the immune cells in our body to recognise and destroy cancer cells.
  3. Ms Gan Chai Phei and her team are finding ways to repurpose approved drugs or those that are currently in clinical testing for the treatment of oral cancer. We leverage on the cancer models that are developed in our laboratory to move scientific discoveries into the clinic.