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Cancer Therapeutics Research Laboratory

​Research head:

​A/Prof Gopal Iyer

Dr Daniel Tan

​Research team:

​Dr Hong Sheng QUAH

Dr Darren TOH

Dr Yvonne TENG

Fui Teen CHONG

Dorival Mendes RODRIGUES Jr

Dawn LAU

Lisda SUTEJA

Hui Sun LEONG

Yiqun CAO

Xue Lin KWANG


The Cancer Therapeutics Research Laboratory is led by Dr. Daniel Tan (medical
oncologist) and Assoc. 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
discovery
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).


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.
 
Selected publications:

  1. Rasheed SAK, Leong HS, Lakshmanan M, et al. GNA13 expression promotes
    drug resistance and tumor-initiating phenotypes in squamous cell cancers.
    Oncogene. 2018;37:1340–1353.
  2. Tan DSW, Chong FT, Leong HS, et al. Long noncoding RNA EGFR-AS1 mediates epidermal growth factor receptor addiction and modulates treatment response in squamous cell carcinoma. Nat Med. 2017;23:1167–1175.
  3. Chia S, Low JL, Zhang X, et al. Phenotype-driven precision oncology as a guide for clinical decisions one patient at a time. Nat Commun. 2017;8:435.
  4. Nahar R, Zhai W, Zhang T, et al. Elucidating the genomic architecture of Asian EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma through multi-region exome sequencing. Nat Commun. 2018;15;9:216.