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A*STAR's GIS Collaborates with GSK to Further Research on Lung Cancer

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Partnership will advance both organizations' joint efforts towards finding a cure for the disease.

In a latest boost to A*STAR's collaborations with the industry, Dr Bing LIM, Associate Director of Cancer Stem Cell Biology, and Senior Group Leader at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), was recently awarded a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) grant under the Academic Centre of Excellence (ACE) to further his research on lung cancer at the GIS.

This partnership between GIS and GSK, a multinational pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare company which administers the ACE in Singapore, will significantly advance both organizations' joint efforts towards finding a cure for the disease.

The central goal of this grant awarded to GIS, worth SGD$350,000, is the identification of new diagnostic and therapeutic targets for cancer, and the initiation of a commit-to-target (C2T) milestone in GSK discovery. A three-pronged approach will be adopted in order to achieve this.

Leveraging on GIS' successes in identifying and characterizing lung cancer tumour initiating cells, and hence allowing for the identification of new diagnostic and therapeutic targets in lung cancer, the first of the three-pronged approach is to fully validate these targets as candidates for discovery initiation, focusing on those that are amenable to bio-therapeutics.

The second stage of the grant will focus on using high-throughput sequencing technologies to sequence the lung cancer cells and identify unique and novel variant tumors markers, which could be used as diagnostic and therapeutic targets in cancers.

The third stage involves the full characterization of monoclonal antibodies that have been generated by GIS against lung cancer cells that are highly enriched for cancer tumor initiating cells.

Dr Bing LIM said, "This collaboration with GSK provides a great opportunity for both parties to learn what the most effective way is for industry and academic research to join forces in the constantly changing landscape of scientific paradigm, biomedical technology and health care goals."

Executive Director of GIS, Prof NG Huck Hui said, "Prof Bing Lim's lab is doing cutting-edge research in lung cancer initiating cells and the award of this ACE grant is a clear endorsement of the translational value of his research. This is an exemplar of how world class research done at the Biopolis is attracting industry interest and building strategic alliance."

Dr Benjamin SEET, Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Council at A*STAR added, "This partnership is an example of the value proposition we seek to create here in Biopolis. It brings together a leading scientist with a pharmaceutical company, with the aim of taking a scientific discovery closer to the clinic, and finding new cures for a disease that is currently difficult to treat".

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