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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology

​Research head:​Professor The Hung HUYNH
​Research team:

​Shelly LIN

Richard ONG

Thanh Chung VU

Joanna Kristyn LIM

Liek Yeow LEE

Prof. Huynh is an Adjunct Professor at the National University of Singapore (Singapore) and at McGill University (Canada). He is also Principal Investigator of the Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology at the NCCS. He has received several awards, including the Dean’s First Honour List for his PhD, The United States Army Medical Research and Material Command Breast Cancer Research Program, Best Researcher Award, and Best Paper Award at the 4th Asian Congress in Urology. Prof. Huynh has published as first or corresponding author in 115 peer-reviewed journals.

The research interest of his laboratory focuses on targeted therapies for solid tumours and the development of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. He has developed more than 250 xenograft tumour models, including models for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), gastric cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumours, and lung and ovarian cancers.

Discovery-driven translational research in HCC and gastric cancer is moving steadily from the study of cell-line–derived xenografts to patient-derived tumour xenografts (PDX). These xenografts have proven to be an important platform in drug testing, especially for targeted and combined therapies. Our group has profiled the protein expression, gene expression, and mutational analysis of these xenografts. The PDX platform is fast becoming a recognised industry and academic leader in the areas of HCC and gastric cancer drug development. This platform represents powerful in vivo models that permit us to investigate ways to repurpose drugs for new indications. We are also developing a humanised HCC mouse (HHM) model by the concurrent transplantation of human haematopoietic stem cells and MHC mismatched HCC cells into the livers of NOD-scid IL2Rγnull mice. The results show a solid coexistence and interaction of the cells without evidence of rejection. This HHM model will provide a cutting-edge technology for drug screening, especially for immunotherapy, target discovery, and validation.

PATIENT-DERIVED XENOGRAFT MODELS: TRANSLATIONAL PLATFORMS FOR PRE-CLINICAL STUDY IN SOLID TUMOURS

Figure 1: Graph shows the number of patient-derived tumour models established from primary tumours for the drug discovery programme. Abbreviations: HCC, hepatocellular carcinoma; GC, gastric cancer; GIST, gastrointestinal stromal
tumour; CRC, colorectal cancer; LC, lung cancer.

Selected publications:

  1. Huynh H, Ong R, Zopf D. Antitumor activity of the multikinase inhibitor regorafenib in patient-derived xenograft models of gastric cancer. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2015;34:132
  2. Huynh H, Hao HX, Chan SL, et al. Loss of tuberous sclerosis complex 2 (TSC2)
    is frequent in hepatocellular carcinoma and predicts response to mTORC1
    inhibitor Everolimus. Mol Cancer Ther. 2015;14:1224–1235.
  3. Li F, Huynh H, Li X, et al. FGFR-mediated reactivation of MAPK signaling attenuates antitumor effects of Imatinib in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Cancer Discov. 2015;5:438–451.
  4. Sommer A, Kopitz C, Schatz CA, et al. Preclinical efficacy of the auristatinbased
    antibody-drug conjugate BAY 1187982 for the treatment of FGFR2-positive solid tumors. Cancer Res. 2016;76:6331–6339.
  5. Tai WM, Yong WP, Lim C, et al. A Phase Ib study of Selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) in combination with Sorafenib in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ann Oncol. 2016;27:2210–2215.