Today, there have been major advances in cancer treatment because of our understanding of what genetic changes cause cancers to happen (and which treatments can target these genetic changes and kill cancer cells). Such an understanding of genomics has played an important part in creating more effective therapies for cancer, but unfortunately, there is little done in genomics of Asian cancers. Our study on genomics of breast cancer in Asian women, the largest study of its kind, is being used as the basis to develop more effective treatment options.
The unfortunate reality is that developing new drugs from scratch is too costly and risky — which is why we look to repurpose drugs. We hope to dedicate ourselves to drug discovery one day. In the meantime, drug repurposing allows us to shorten the time and cost it takes to bring these drugs to the patients who need them.

How we’ve made a difference

  1. We found that a genetic variant that is found in 60% of Asians (and only 15% of Caucasians and <5% of Africans) is associated with breast cancers that have activated immune systems and recently completed a clinical trial testing whether Asian patients with this genetic variant may be treated with methods that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to target cancer cells.
  2. We have also developed a new method to identify breast cancer patients whose tumours are BRCA-like, even though the patients do not have the BRCA gene variant and are conducting a clinical trial testing whether Asian patients with aggressive breast cancer may be treated with newer therapies targeting the BRCA-like features.
  3. Developed a cancer vaccine that is able to control tumour growth by up to 97% and licensed this to a biopharmaceutical company for human clinical trials.
  4. Developed a collaboration with Ministry of Health and 9 hospitals in Malaysia to test the effectiveness of lower (and more affordable) doses of immunotherapy for treatment of lung cancers.

What we’re doing now

  1. We are working on turning the above discoveries into new or repurposed treatments for patients.