Channel NewsAsia

First breast cancer cell bank in Singapore

The Cancer Science Institute of Singapore has set up the cell bank to aid in design of therapies to benefit breast cancer sufferers, particularly those in Asia.

SINGAPORE: A breast cancer cell bank has been set up in Singapore for the first time, to help develop better understanding of and treatments for tumours. Breast cancer is the top killer cancer amongst Singaporean women.

In a statement released on Tuesday (July 1), Philips and the Cancer Science Institute (CSI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) said the facility is the first university-based breast cancer cell bank here, and it will house primary culture tumour cell lines from patients in Singapore and make them available to all local and regional cancer research centres. Philips made an unspecified amount of donation to help establish the facility.

"At present, there are no samples that fairly represent breast cancer in Asians as there have been no lab tested models that exist which significantly represent this," said Dr Pieter Eichhorn, Lead Principal Investigator at the CSI and Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

"Through this initiative, we aim to design therapies that will benefit all breast cancer sufferers and particularly focusing on Asian patient populations."

The research at CSI will utilise the breast cancer cell bank to identify drug combinations that will overcome resistance to treatment over time by patients in order to enhance treatment options for breast cancer patients.

CSI aims to collect 25 unique breast cancer cell samples by 2015, and establish the cell bank as a research facility for researchers and clinicians, not just in Singapore, but internationally.

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