Issue 32 / November 2019


New Hope for Paediatric Leukaemia Patients

NUS Medicine’s Professor Dario Campana wins Gabbay Award for discovery of life-saving immune cell therapy. The CAR-T cell therapy involves taking a patient’s T cells (the immune system’s attack machines) and modifying their receptors to chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), which recognise the cancer cells. This produces CAR-T cells that can hunt down and kill the cancer cells. CAR-T cell therapy has shown impressive results in patients with leukaemia and lymphoma.

Dear Reader, 
The vision of a Singaporean medical school to train doctors was made real through the generous support of the local community. Over the years, our student intake has become more diverse and more closely reflects the socio-economic fabric of our society. While generalisations of these young men and women as academically outstanding are common, what is less known is the fact that one in six of our students today receive financial support to enable them to continue with their studies.
So it was with much gladness that we welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister during the National Day Rally in August, that government bursaries for the Medicine undergraduate programmes in local universities would be boosted from the next academic year. The good news meant that along with bursaries from the universities, needy students would pay tuition fees of at most $5,000 a year. This quote from the Prime Minister is noteworthy: “We should not let the cost of medical school deter good students from studying medicine and becoming doctors. In fact, we want doctors to come from different segments of society, and have diverse educational and family backgrounds.



At the Beginning with You


A picture is worth a thousand words. Find out more about what our new students went through as part of their induction into the School and the medical fraternity through this photo story.


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Keeping Sharp with an Active Clinical Practice


An increasing number of NUS Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies (NUS Nursing) faculty is serving as nurse clinicians and advanced practice nurses, in addition to their roles as educators at the University. Here, we feature some of our educators who not only develop nurses at baccalaureate and graduate levels, but also demonstrate a commitment to providing direct patient care in hospitals and in the community.


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A Reflection: My Dissection Elective


Poon Wynne Hsing, a second year medical student from NUS Medicine, penned a reflection following the completion of a dissection elective that took place over the semester break between her first and second year. In the reflection, she addresses Associate Professor Ng Yee Kong, the anatomy professor in charge of the Silent Mentors programme in the school.


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Harvard Experience


Phase IV medical student, Lim Sheng Yang, looks back on his month-long elective module with Harvard University at the Boston Children's Hospital's Paediatric Ophthalmology Department, his time spent with 15 other people sharing a home, and his adventures in Boston.


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New Hope for Paediatric Leukaemia Patients 

NUS Medicine’s Professor Dario Campana wins Gabbay Award for discovery of life-saving immune cell therapy. The CAR-T cell therapy involves taking a patient’s T cells (the immune system’s attack machines) and modifying their receptors to chimeric antigen receptors (CAR), which recognise the cancer cells. This produces CAR-T cells that can hunt down and kill the cancer cells.


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Predicting and Treating Type 2 Diabetes


Assistant Professor Deron Herr from the Department of Pharmacology sheds some light on his research into identifying the associations between specific lipid molecules and the parameters of obesity and diabetes. This study is one of the largest population-based lipidomics study in the East Asian population to date.


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The Gel's the Key: Eyeing Better Outcomes for Retinal Detachment


NUS Medicine's Assistant Professor Su Xinyi from the Ophthalmology department led a team of researchers in the quest for an alternative tamponade agent, finding a solution in adapting an existing thermosensitive hydrogel meant for cosmetic fillers. This innovative response to retinal detachment will mean a more comfortable recovery for patients in the future.


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Your Spouse or Your Parents? Who Should Decide When to Take You Off Life Support


Plan how to leave well, if we want to live well, say Sumytra Menon, Senior Assistant Director from the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, NUS Medicine; and Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Palliative Care, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine.


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Not By My Hand Alone - A Surgeon's Journey


So-so medical student, struggling houseman, long-suffering orthopaedic and hand microsurgery training and tribulation in the Temples of Doom, Sacrifice and Respite, and final redemption – NUHS Physician-in-Chief Professor Aymeric Lim (Class of 1990) shares about the ups and downs, ins and outs, highs and lows of his multi-faceted life.


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Beating the Heat


As the world begins to grapple with the uncomfortable reality of climate change, some of us find solace in the belief that its effects are confined to the polar regions of the globe. Its relevance has never appealed to an urban and tropical population that has either been conditioned to 35 degree Celsius (°C) or fortified within a false reality of an air-conditioned world. Until now.


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Health Informatics - Equipping Students with Skills for the Digital Age


The practice of medicine continues to evolve in its quest to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Technological advances in the current Digital Age allow healthcare and clinical decision-making recommendations to be synthesised from different sources of information, ranging from patient case reports to randomised controlled clinical trials and large scale population studies.


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Narratively Speaking


Tracing his journey in family medicine as a student and educator, Dr Cheong Pak Yean, Adjunct Associate Professor at NUS Medicine (Class of 1974) was instrumental in developing family medicine as a specialty, and shares how the discipline has evolved since its early days.


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Excerpts from Being Human: Stories from Family Medicine


Care for patients often begins and ends with the Family Doctor. In this issue, we share more stories from Being Human: Stories from Family Medicine, published by Adjunct Associate Professor Cheong Pak Yean and Dr Ong Chooi Peng.


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Life's Second Chances


Inspired by the compassion of healthcare workers who treated and rehabilitated his stroke-ridden father, Phase IV medical student Chan Long Peng was determined to study Medicine, so that he too, could pay it forward and give patients a second chance at life.


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Exercise is Medicine


Phase IV student Ian Wee has pushed the limits of his sporting interests, representing the nation as Singapore’s male Crossfit champion at the recent international Crossfit Games in Madison, Wisconsin. MediCine sat down with Ian to find out more about his passion for Crossfit and how his training and participation in the sport has translated to his life as a future medical professional.


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Date Event & Venue
Nov 18 Simulation Faculty Development Workshop
Centre for Healthcare Simulation, MD6, NUS
Nov 23 Wong Hock Boon Society Research Day 2019
Level 1 Auditorium, Clinical Research Centre, MD11, NUS
Nov 25
NUS Neuroscience and Technology Symposium
Level 1 Auditorium, Clinical Research Centre, MD11, NUS
Jan 6, 2020
NUS ncRNA Symposium 2020
Jan 8-12, 2020
17th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC)
Resorts World Convention Centre, RWS