First Breast Cancer Cell Bank debuts in Singapore


The first University-based Breast Cancer Cell Bank has been set up in Singapore NUS’ Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI) to help develop better understanding of and treatments for tumours.

With the support of Royal Philips, the facility will house primary culture tumour cell lines from patients in Singapore and make these available to all local and regional cancer research centres.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Singaporean women – approximately 8,500 women are diagnosed with it annually. However, as currently there are no existing lab tested models, there is no sample that fairly represents breast cancer in Asians, according to Dr Pieter Eichhorn, Lead Principal Investigator at the CSI and Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

“Through this initiative, we aim to design therapies that will benefit all breast cancer sufferers and particularly focusing on Asian patient populations,” said Asst Prof Eichhorn.

The research at CSI will utilise the breast cancer cell sample repository to identify drug combinations that will overcome resistance to treatment over time by patients in order to enhance treatment options for breast cancer patients.

By 2015, CSI aims to collect 25 unique breast cancer cell samples and establish the Breast Cancer Cell Bank as a research facility for both Singaporean and international researchers and clinicians.

Internationally, scientists have isolated approximately 150 breast cancer cell lines in total, with most of the research work being conducted on about 25 of these cell lines.

Source: NUS News