salubris oct - dec 2013
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DESCRIPTIONSalubris is a quarterly publication by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).
AN NCCS QUARTERLY PUBLICATION October December 2013
Issue No. 27 MICA (P) 061/10/2010
Salubris is a Latin word which means healthy, in good condition (body) and wholesome.
...HELPING R EADERS TO ACHIEVE GOOD HEALTH
CLINICAL TRIALS AT NCCSAs a leading academic cancer centre, NCCS is actively involved in clinical research such as investigator-initiated trials and international trials which give patients access to new cutting-edge therapies. In this issue, we speak to Dr Daniel Tan, Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology and Co-Principal Investigator, Cancer Therapeutics Research Laboratory, Division of Medical Sciences on his work for clinical trials. He is also the lead clinician in phase 1 clinical trials.
Q: WHAT DOES THE EXPERIMENTAL CANCER THERAPEUTICS UNIT DO?
The Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Unit (ECRU) is a collaborative multidisciplinary service in NCCS that draws on expertise across Outram Campus. This Unit is closely associated with the Investigational Medicine Unit at SingHealth, which is the inpatient facility for clinical trials. Our primary mission is to bring new and novel therapeutic agents into the clinic and at the same time advance our understanding of the biology of cancer.
Q: HOW LONG HAS THIS UNIT BEEN SET UP? HOW BIG IS YOUR UNIT?
This unit was established in 2009. There are currently about eight coordinators and four oncologists who look after the patients on the trials. A few more oncologists will be back from overseas to join ECRU.
Q: HOW MANY TRIALS ARE OPENED AT ANY ONE TIME?
The unit has approximately 15-20 trials open at any one time and the number of patients who choose to participate in phase I trials has been steadily increasing.
Q: WHEN DOES A PATIENT USUALLY CONSIDER CLINICAL TRIALS?
Clinical trials are often used when the patients have exhausted the standard treatments and have no other treatment options.
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Q: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT CLINICAL TRIALS SO FAR?
Yes. There are trials that were done on other sites where our patients have had remarkable responses in the early stages. For example, we worked with second generation ALK Inhibitor LDK 378 where we recruited the eighth patient in the world for the trial and even at the early stage, we saw good response. Since then, this drug has become very successful.
Q: WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE IMPACT OF CLINICAL TRIALS ON PATIENTS?
The phase 1 clinical trials are the point at which new drugs are introduced into medical practice and we hope that this will provide patients early access to the new drugs.
There are a little bit of risks involved as the drugs are new. But the reassuring thing is that safety measures are in place. If the patients run into problems, they can always contact our coordinators.
Q: WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WANT TO BRING ACROSS TO OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE INSTITUTIONS?
The nature of the patients we see and the nature of the drugs side effects do mean that many of our colleagues are also involved in these trials. For example, we involve eye centre colleagues and cardiology colleagues if there are complications that arise from these trials. One of the challenges with these trials is that you may not know what to expect. Hence, we work closely with all our colleagues in the campus to address some of these potential complications.
The team involved in the Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Unit:
PARTICIPATING IN CLINICAL TRIALS
If you wish to participate in a clinical trial at the National Cancer Centre, you can consult your attending physician. If there is a trial that is suitable for you, your physician will be able to refer you to the appropriate clinical investigator responsible for that study. Our clinical investigator will discuss with you what participation in the trial entails and provide details to help you make an informed decision.
GIVING TO CANCER RESEARCH
Many of these studies are made possible only by adequate funding. Should you wish to make a contribution to our effort to eliminate cancer, you can make a donation through this link. http://www.nccs.com.sg/Giving/WaysofGiving/Pages/Home.aspx
BY RACHEL TAN
Doctors Dr Daniel Shao Weng Tan Dr Matthew CH Ng Dr Tan Eng Huat A/Prof Darren Lim Dr Choo Su Pin Dr Yap Yoon Sim
Functional Imaging Dr Ng Quan Sing Dr Thng Choon Hua
Biomarker Development A/Prof Tony Lim Kiat Hon Dr Angela Takano Dr Alvin Lim Soon Tiong
Principal Pharmacologist Prof Balram Chowbay
Lead Trial Coordinators Ms Wang Lan Ying Ms Low Lishan
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SWEET SHARING OF GOODNESS BY LIN SHUANGCHUN Executive, Volunteer Management
Recently, I came across an interesting book at the Retail Pharmacy at NCCS. The name and cover of the book attracted me. Named Sharing Plates, the books cover has a picture of a mouthwatering bowl of apple salad and a delicious plate of briyani rice. As I browsed through the book, I was charmed by the photographs and the potpourri of stories the recipes were connected to. I had to buy it.
Sharing Plates is a recipe book created by a group of students from Nanyang Technological University for their final year project. The book is their tribute to those affected by cancer and shares simple food ideas with those going through the cancer journey.The delectable and carefully choreographed colourful photos of dishes enticed me to try some of the recipes. I was skeptical at first about how it would turn out but I was very pleasantly surprised. What I had cooked tasted GOOD!
It is an easy to read cook book with simple instructions that make whipping up delicious meals and delectable desserts a breeze for anyone in the kitchen.
Being a busy executive with many commitments to juggle, I finally found time to don my apron and put two recipes to the test on a lazy Sunday afternoon - pumpkin and corn porridge for a light lunch, and red dates, red beans and barley dessert for a sweet ending. I must confess that the kitchen is a restricted zone meant for mummy dearest and not for an amateur cook like me. Looking like a fish out of water, I finally served the porridge and dessert much to the anticipation of those present for the food tasting. Surprisingly, the porridge was light and tasty! What blew everyone away was the all-natural sweetness and fragrance of dessert made from red dates, red beans and barley. This dessert gets all the votes because not only can it be prepared in three easy steps, but it also has all the antioxidants that are good for us, and is surprisingly sweet a definite thumbs up from a sweet tooth like me.
It is official. Desserts can be full of wholesome goodness without compromising on taste. If a Sunday cook like me can turn chef for a day, so can you. Sharing Plates has created a sweet weekend for me to share with my family.
I recommend this simple unpretentious recipe book to anyone who wants to cook a wholesome meal for their loved ones. I am sharing this experience with you so that you too can be convinced that people affected by cancer do not have to eat bland food.
If you wish to get your copy of Sharing Plates, it is still available at a very special price of $15 per book at the National Cancer Centre Retail Pharmacy, or you can purchase it online at: http://www.nccs.com.sg/Giving/GettingInvolved/Documents/SharingPlates.htm
Proceeds from the sale of the book go to Community Cancer Fund in aid of patient care initiatives and educational programmes.
I recommend this simple unpretentious recipe book to anyone who wants to cook a wholesome meal for their loved ones.
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CONGRATULATIONS! RECIPIENTS OF NATIONAL DAY AWARDS 2013
Ms Chew Pheck GeokDirectorRadiotherapy ServicesDivision of Radiation Oncology
This award is an affirmation of professional & personal contribution; a milestone achieved as part of the healthcare team. This is only possible through the strong support and close collaboration among fellow colleagues who are committed to healthcare excellence.
LONG SERVICE MEDAL
Ms Chan Soh HwaAssistant DirectorDivision of Oncologic Imaging
Surprised - however delighted with the affirmation and extremely grateful to the wonderful friends and supportive colleagues who make this possible.
A/Prof Lita Chew Sui TjienHeadPharmacy
Ms Tamilarasi d/o ArumugamNurse ManagerSpecialist Oncology Clinic
My greatest satisfaction is: Go home with the thought that I made a difference in someones life.
Dr Fan Yoke FunSenior ConsultantDivision of Oncologic Imaging
Dr Chua Eu TiongHead and Senior ConsultantDivision of Radiation Oncology
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION MEDAL (BRONZE)
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H e had in fact nominated another fellow doctor for the award and little did he know that someone else had put his name on the nomination list.And, when he was given the news that he won the award, he could not believe his ears, and questioned: What have I done to deserve the award?
The modest and busy man has overlooked his own contributions, taking whatever he has over the years to make a difference in the life of others as just part of his work.
But Dr Koo who holds several responsibilities, has always been a source of inspiration to his peers and juniors in National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), some of whom affectionately refer to him as Grand Master. He is the Deputy Director and Senior Consultant (Department of Medical Oncology) at the NCCS, as well as the Associate Programme Director for SingHealth Internal Medicine Residency and SingHealth Group Director for Education. He ho