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Research

Translational research for childhood brain and solid tumours is critical in finding new and better ways to treat these diseases, while trying to minimize the harm caused by drugs, radiation or surgery. This requires an integrated approach and a high degree of collaboration between doctors and scientists. In this area, KKH, with its high volume of patients, works in cooperation with research centres within the SingHealth Duke-NUS cluster.

Using a translational research pipeline, we adopt a targeted approach to advance scientific findings from basic, to pre-clinical and early clinical development, and on to early phase clinical trials, for various paediatric brain and solid tumours. Given the wide variety of the tumour types, the Programme has adopted a special focus on development of personalized medical management strategies through individualized molecular and phenotypic tests.

Current initiatives:

  1. Modeling, Analysis and Translational Therapeutics for Tumours of Childhood (MAT3CH)

    This platform develops orthotopic patient-derived xenografts (PDX) and in vitro cell line models of paediatric brain and solid tumours, in order to facilitate molecular characterization and evaluation of novel therapies for these diseases. This programme facilitates the molecular characterization of paediatric solid tumours in Asian children for the identification of pathogenic molecular aberrations, comparisons of inter-population variations, and in-vivo evaluation of novel agents for translation into early-phase human trials.

  2. Mutational analysis, drug-testing and using circulating tumor cells (CTCs) for disease monitoring of neuroblastoma in Asian patients

    In collaboration with the Neurodevelopment and Cancer Laboratory at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, we are studying the mutational frequency of known variants as well as discovering whether there are novel genes mutated, and their corresponding functional implications and clinical significance in neuroblastoma within the Asian cohort. We are also interested in evaluating novel compounds that target specific pathways implicated in a subset of neuroblastoma cases, by using our pre-clinical drug-testing platform, for more personalized treatment and management of the disease. To complement this, we are currently also exploring the potential use of CTCs as liquid biopsy for disease monitoring in neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma.

  3. Comprehensive Genomic Profiling of Paediatric Brain and Solid Tumours (SPONC18B1)

    Many rare, relapsed or treatment-resistant tumors in children may have limited treatment options. Now, comprehensive systematic profiling of key cancer genes can help ascertain the diagnosis of previously unclassified tumors based on their molecular signature, or identify actionable cancer genes that can be treated with targeted agents.

    In this precision medicine study, patients aged 35 and under with pediatric brain and solid tumors are evaluated with the Oncomine Childhood Cancer Research Assay. This sequences close to 200 genes for information on specific mutations that aid in diagnosis and treatment planning. An available formalin-fixed sample of the patient’s tumor is required for enrolment on this study. Following review by our molecular tumour board, a report on the analysed genes and the corresponding treatment recommendations are returned to the patient to aid their treatment in an individualized manner.

For enquiries on study participation, or other related questions, please contact us at childhoodcancer@kkh.com.sg.