Singapore awards grant to NRF to develop new liver cancer therapies

The team aims to develop preventive interventions for liver cancer using innovative and cutting-edge genomic technology.

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A team of multidisciplinary scientists has been awarded the prestigious National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore Fellowship to uncover the fundamental mechanisms of liver disease progression from fatty liver to fibrosis/cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and, possibly liver cancer.

The team aims to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers that can be developed into novel therapies to prevent progression to cancer, as well as biomarkers that can be used to detect and monitor early disease progression to enable rapid preventive interventions. The research is led by the Genome Institute of A*STAR

Singapore (GIS), in collaboration with A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine), National University Hospital (NUH) and Cancer Science Institute (CSI), SingHealth Duke – Institute of Translational Immunology (TII) at NUS and School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU Singapore).

Heptacellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer in adults, is also one of the most prevalent cancers in the Asia-Pacific region, including Singapore. In terms of cancer deaths in Singapore, it was ranked third among men and fourth among women from 2011 to 2015.

The team is now motivated to understand the early mechanisms underlying the progression from early liver disease to advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, and eventually to HCC.

The primary research goal of the project is to generate a comprehensive single-cell catalog of the evolution of disease-associated cell states (both in the hepatic epithelium and the tissue environment) that control the trajectories of disease progression. disease towards HCC.

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