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Cancer Therapeutics Research

​Research head:

​Prof Gopal Iyer

A/Prof Daniel Tan

​Research team:

​Dr Hong Sheng QUAH

Dr Darren TOH

Dr Constance LI 

Dr Wei Yi TOY 


Fui Teen CHONG 

Dawn LAU 

Hui Sun LEONG 

HARIRAMAN Bhuvaneswari 

Win Pin NG 

Arcinas Camille Esther WALET (PhD student) 

Wei Kiang LIM (PhD student) 

Lisda SUTEJA (PhD student)

The Cancer Therapeutics Research Laboratory is led by A/Prof. Daniel Tan (medical
oncologist) and Prof. Gopal Iyer (head and neck surgeon), both nationally funded clinician-scientists. The primary objective is to drive advances in cancer therapeutics through a translational, three-pronged strategy:

a. Multi-dimensional interrogation of samples obtained at point-of-care
b. Establishing representative models to study therapeutic response and biomarker
c. Application of novel agents and/or combinations in the setting of co-clinical trials

a. Interrogating Tumour Samples
Samples: To study tumour heterogeneity and cancer evolution—two highly
dynamic processes—and as a way to better understand exceptional therapeutic
response, samples are acquired at the point of clinical care from resected surgical
samples in spatially discrete regions or serial tissue and liquid biopsies.

Multi-dimensional profiling and single-cell analysis: Routine profiling includes
targeted gene panels, whole-exome, whole-genome and RNA-seq. Single-cell
RNAseq can further answer questions pertaining to how heterogeneity contributes
to drug response and metastasis.

Immunophenotyping: The role of the immune therapy is now firmly established
in lung and head and neck cancers. We intend to apply deep profiling strategies
to understand the immune repertoire for the identification of specific immune
phenotypes and exhausted populations that have the capacity for reactivation.

b. Preclinical Disease Modelling
We have optimised protocols to establish patient-derived 2D and 3D cultures from
head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and lung cancer. These models are to
support projects that are ex vivo representatives of clinical scenarios (exceptional
responders, screens, co-clinical trials, among others). These are being expanded to models that also include the tumor microenvironments including immune cells.

c. Translational Therapeutics
Novel therapies: Our laboratory closely interfaces with the Experimental Cancer
Therapeutics Unit (Phase I unit) in interrogating bio-specimens to enable the discovery
of next-generation biomarkers and explore new combinatorial approaches.

Exploiting combinatorial approaches: We are also exploring combinations that
can be used to limit the evolution of resistance or maintain a stem-like phenotype.
These insights can be applied to the clinic through innovative, adaptive clinical
trials as well as neoadjuvant or window-of-opportunity regimens.