NUS develops screening tool able to diagnose cancer immediately

NUS develops screening tool able to diagnose cancer immediately

By Reshma Ailmchandani


POSTED: 10 Feb 2014 22:09

National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a new tool that is able to diagnose cancerous and even pre-cancerous tissues immediately during endoscopy.

SINGAPORE: National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a new tool that is able to diagnose cancerous and even pre-cancerous tissues immediately during endoscopy.

There are plans to commercialise the screening tool within the next five years.

By inserting a thin probe via the endoscopic tube, the instrument, called the In-Vivo MolecularDiagnostic System, will be able to detect if a tissue has cancer just by touching it.

The diagnosis takes only a second, compared to the usual three days for a biopsy.

Professor Ho Khek Yu, head of department of medicine at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicineat NUS, said: “Current endoscopy allows us to recognise some abnormal findings in the stomach, but it doesn’t allow us to make diagnosis real-time. (This) allows the operators to look at the tissue and also at the same time, make the diagnosis on the spot.”

The instrument can be used to alert patients even before cancer cells start to emerge.

Prof Ho said: “Majority do not have cancers, but they are at risk of developing cancer. We can pick up those lesions because over… time, the hope is not to get cancers but rather, to actually detect the pre-cancers and early cancers early, so we can give the appropriate treatments.”

This is especially useful as pre-cancer tissues look normal before the naked eye.

The tool is currently used in clinical trials and has been used on more than 500 patients so far.

Only gastrointestinal cancers — such as stomach and liver cancers — have been targeted as they are the most common and the second highest contributors to cancer deaths in Asia.

But the team hopes that the screening instrument would be expanded to other types of cancers. 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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