newsinfomain2 sgcc 190404
Assoc Prof Yeoh (first row, centre) with members of the SGCC

Gastric cancer is the third leading cause of global cancer mortality accounting for 780,000 deaths annually worldwide. It is the fifth most common cancer, with close to one million new cases diagnosed annually worldwide, of which 60% occur in East Asia particularly in China, Japan and Korea. Gastric cancer is the fourth and fifth cause of cancer death in males and females respectively in Singapore, contributing a high healthcare burden.

Early detection of gastric cancer offers the best opportunity for improving patient survival outcomes. Endoscopy is currently the gold standard for diagnosing gastric cancer. However, mass population screening of gastric cancer using endoscopy in Singapore is costly and invasive.

Now, a team of researchers from the Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium is developing a blood biomarker test for early detection of gastric cancer. The blood test could be available by the end of this year and will be the first such test in the world if approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). This test was co-developed with the MiRXES Pte Ltd, A*STAR’s Diagnostics Development Hub (DxD hub), National University Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"Gastric cancer is a silent killer as it is often detected late, making it harder to treat and cure. This non-invasive blood test will greatly simplify the diagnosis of gastric cancer and allow for early intervention," said Associate Professor Yeoh Khay Guan from the Department of Medicine at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, who is also the lead principal investigator of the project under the Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium (SGCC).

The Singapore Gastric Cancer Consortium (SGCC) is a multidisciplinary national research programme comprising clinicians and scientists from academic medical centres, universities, and research institutes, with the aim of reducing incidence and morbidity of gastric cancer.

SGCC was one of the four research projects awarded with a grant by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) on 3 April 2019 under the Open Fund Large Collaborative Grants programme. With the grant, SGCC aims to further its goal of transforming gastric cancer management by tackling the key clinical and scientific challenges in gastric cancer, through specific themes in precision prevention, precision therapy and identifying novel targets through innovative technologies, data science, and experimental models. Work in these themes will be supported through a series of core platforms, including bio-banking, genomics, and bioinformatics.

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