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Programme in Translational and Clinical Liver Research

​Research head:​Professor Pierce CHOW
​Research team:

​Dr Sin Chi CHEW

Dr Yong Jae SHIN

Dr Lingyan WU

Lynette LAI

Swizzle KO


Pearly QUEK

Rachel CHOI

Si Ying CHOO

Fiona Ni Ni MOE

Reiko ANG

Jacelyn CHUA

Laura SOO

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a significant challenge in healthcare, with huge unmet clinical needs. HCC, also known as primary liver cancer, is the second-most important cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, and 80% of HCC cases are found in the Asia-Pacific region. Only about 20% of HCC cases present with early-stage HCC potentially curable by surgery, transplantation and radiofrequency ablation. Even in these, cancer recurrence is a common phenomenon and overall survival for HCC remains poor. There is thus a compelling need for better therapies and a better understanding of the biology of HCC.

The Translational and Clinical Liver Research Programme at NCCS addresses these challenges through an integrated bench-to-bedside approach. Additionally, our programme is multi-institutional in nature and we work closely with leading research institutions (Translational Immunology Institute, Genome Institute of Singapore, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Cancer Science Institute, Singapore, Singapore Phenome Center, Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital). This multi-institutional collaboration has endowed us with the capability to conduct specialised and in-depth research into the multiple “- omics” of HCC and patient-derived models and apply them to precision medicine in HCC. It also houses the secretariat of the collaborative 21 year-old Asia-Pacific HCC Trials Group.

Over the past few years, our programme has received several notable grant awards,
such as:

  • 2018: National Medical Research Council’s Clinician-Scientist Award (NMRC CSA)
  • 2017: BMRC Industry Alignment Pre-Positioning Fund (IAF-PP)
  • 2016: NMRC Translational Clinical Research (TCR) grant for the National Flagship
    Programme in Liver Cancer


Selected publications:

  1. Chow PK, Gandhi M, Tan SB, et al. SIRveNIB: Selective internal radiation therapy versus sorafenib in Asia-Pacific patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36:1913–1921.
  2. Chew V, Lee YH, Pan L, et al. Immune activation underlies a sustained clinical response to Yttrium-90 radioembolisation in hepatocellular carcinoma. Gut. 2018. doi: 10.1136/ gutjnl-2017-315485.
  3. Zhai W, Lim TK, Zhang T, et al. The spatial organization of intra-tumour heterogeneity and evolutionary trajectories of metastases in hepatocellular carcinoma. Nat Commun. 2017;8:4565.
  4. Chow PK, Gandhi M, Gebski V. The Sirvenib and Sarah Trials and the role of sir-spheres(R) Y-90 resin microspheres in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma. Future Oncol. 2017;13:2213–2216.
  5. Chew V, Lai L, Pan L, et al. Delineation of an immunosuppressive gradient in hepatocellular carcinoma using high-dimensional proteomic and transcriptomic analyses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;114:E5900–E5909.