Symbolic launch of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Genomic Medicine Centre (from left to right) Dr Saumya Shekhar Jamuar, Head, SDGMC; Prof Alex Sia, CEO, KKH; Prof Ivy Ng, GCEO, SingHealth; Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Health; Prof Patrick Casey, Senior Vice-Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School; Prof Patrick Tan, Director, SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Precision Medicine (PRISM)
Aiming to advance care for patients with genetic disorders or suspected genetically-linked conditions and their families,
the SingHealth Duke-NUS Genomic Medicine Centre (SDGMC) was launched at KKH on 10 October 2019, to provide highly-specialised genetics care and facilitate genomics research and education.
Dr Saumya Shekhar Jamuar, Head, SDGMC, and Senior Consultant, Genetics Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), says, “Over the past decade, genomics has become an integral part of routine clinical care. From making novel discoveries to help families understand recurrence risk, to developing treatment targeting a specific genetic variant in an individual, we anticipate that, in the coming years, the SDGMC will play an important role in spearheading some of these clinical activities at the national level as Singapore continues to build up her capabilities in precision medicine.”
The SDGMC was launched at the 10th KKH Scientific Meeting, a two-day conference gathering local and international healthcare practitioners and professionals. Themed “Patient-Centric Care: Precision Medicine and Personalised Care”, the meeting highlighted advances and breakthroughs in science and technology, particularly in genomics, which have enabled the provision of precision medicine and personalised care to patients.
Decoding genetic diseases through research and education
Recognising the highly complex nature of genetic diseases, the SDGMC team is making plans to establish a registry of genetic disorders. The clinical data gathered will fuel epidemiological studies, aiding healthcare professionals and researchers in understanding disease trends, treatment plans and patient outcomes to better manage genetic disorders. Collaborative research with the Duke-NUS Medical School is also underway to discover new biomarkers and genetic disorders for improved diagnosis and novel treatment.
To accelerate education in genomics care, a genetics education programme will also be introduced to equip medical professionals who do not specialise in genetics with a basic knowledge of the use of genetics in clinical practice. With this, the team aims to enhance the identification of and appropriate referrals for patients with genetic conditions.
“The SDGMC will seamlessly integrate genomics care into our healthcare institutions, providing crucial genomics perspectives and timely intervention across medical specialities,” says Professor Ivy Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer, SingHealth. “This will allow for more accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment for patients with genetic diseases, and more effective risk assessment, monitoring and intervention for their family members who are at risk.”
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