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The Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) Trials Group

The Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) Trials Group is a collaborative research group formed in 1997 by clinicians from major medical centres in the Asia-Pacific region.

Singapore is situated in the middle of the Asia-Pacific region where more than 80% of all hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the world are found. Until recently there have been very few efficacious therapies in HCC and other than for early stage HCC treated by resection, radiofrequency ablation and transplantation, prognosis was guarded. Recognizing early that we needed to harness the large HCC patient pool in the region in prospective clinical studies to address urgent unmet clinical needs in HCC, a group of clinicians founded the Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) Trials Group in 1997 by launching the first prospective multi-national clinical trial in the region. Among the founding members were Prof Soo Khee Chee (then Head of Surgery at the Singapore General Hospital), Prof David Machin (then Director of the NMRC Clinical Trials and Epidemiology Research Unit, the fore-runner of the current Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI)), Prof Khin Maung Win  and Prof Pierce Chow, surgeon at the Singapore General Hospital.

The first randomised controlled trial of the group initiated by the Singapore General Hospital expanded rapidly into a multi-centre trial in the Asia-Pacific region. The Trials Group has since completed 8 prospective, multi-centre clinical studies in HCC that has involved more than 50 participating centres from 17 countries and has enrolled more than 4,000 patients. New clinical trials are in the pipeline and the group has established strong alliances with industry and academia.

Member clinicians share a common goal of seeking efficacious treatments for HCC and recognise the necessity for collaboration in order to tap on the large patient pool in the Asia-Pacific to carry out pivotal clinical studies. The mission of the AHCC network is to conduct preventive and therapeutic trials in HCC, carry out translational research in this field and develop training and educational programs pertaining to HCC.