SINGAPORE: Singapore's battle against major diseases got a boost on Friday (Dec 8) with a new partnership between SingHealth, Singapore’s largest public healthcare cluster, and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the country's main public sector research agency.
The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday which aims to tackle diseases that are particularly prevalent in Singapore and Asia, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The three-year partnership will see the two organisations work to turn medical research discoveries into life-changing clinical applications, with the long-term goal of improving treatment outcomes for patients.
It will span three focus areas, the organisations said in a joint release. First, in line with Singapore’s ongoing war on diabetes, the partnership will establish a diabetes "clinic of the future".
The clinic will use smart technologies to improve the whole spectrum of diabetes care, starting from risk prediction to monitoring, treatment and management of the disease.
The second focus area will be on immunotherapy and drug development.
The partnership will bring together both organisations' capabilities in immunology, immunotherapy and cancer research and treatment to form a joint immunotherapy platform, which will work to bring drugs to the clinic more quickly.
SingHealth and A*STAR will also seek to partner local biotech companies to develop and test new immunotherapy drug combinations.
Thirdly, the partnership will focus on precision medicine, which takes into account a patient’s unique biological data and lifestyle to predict, diagnose or treat diseases.
This will provide tailored treatment to the individual patient, instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, said the two organisations.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony on Friday, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said that both organisations' capabilities would complement each other.
“The scientific and technical capabilities of A*STAR’s 18 research institutions will complement SingHealth’s extensive healthcare expertise and resources, to enable seamless transition of cutting-edge healthcare discoveries and applications from bench to bedside,” he said.
He also noted how the partnership will help bridge the gap between research discovery and clinical application.
The signing of the MOU also saw the launch of the Viral Research and Experimental Medicine Centre, a new academic research facility which will work to speed up the development of drugs and vaccines for infectious diseases.