Together with our collaborators at the National Institutes of Health, USA, the oral cancer team at CARIF published a study on the use of an ultrasensitive electrochemical microfluidic array for the detection of oral cancer from blood samples. This device uses gold nanoparticles to detect proteins that are elevated in oral cancer patients and are not present in normal individuals. This prototype paves the way the development of clinically useful point of care devices to help with early detection of cancer. This paper was published in Analytical Chemistry.
The oral cancer research team at CARIF published a study on utilizing four protein signatures to predict the lymph node metastasis for oral cancer patients. This study published together with our clinical colleagues at the Oral Cancer Research Coordinating Centre, University Malaya could in the future, improve patient management by determining the status of disease spread from the genetic make-up of the primary tumour itself. This paper was published in Human Pathology.
Together with our collaborators from the Oral Cancer Research Coordinating Centre, University Malaya and The Malaysia Genome Institute, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, the oral cancer research group at CARIF published a paper on a study demonstrating that various forms of a cancer gene MDM2 is found in oral squamous cell carcinoma in comparison to normal tissues. The various forms called splice variants were found to be significantly associated with OSCC development suggesting that they could play an important role in driving the development of oral cancer. This paper was published in Oral Oncology, the official journal of the International Academy of Oral Oncology.
The oral cancer research team at CARIF published a paper on promoting oral cancer awareness and early detection using mass media approach. This joint effort between the Oral Cancer Research Coordinating Centre, University Malaya and the Oral Health Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia is financed by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) based in Geneva., This study demonstrated that a mass media campaign improved the awareness towards oral cancer but much still needs to be done to ensure that patient present early to the clinic. This paper was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.
March - April 2012
The 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research was held on the 31st of March
– 4th April 2012 in Chicago, Il, . The meeting, with the theme o “Accelerating Science: Concept to Clinic” focused on new technologies that are enabling us to study cancers in more detail and translating these knowledge to improve cancer treatment. Prof Cheong from the Oral Cancer Team presented a poster describing the how an oral cancer protein MAGED4B drives oral cancer development and our efforts in developing a cancer vaccine for the treatment of oral cancer.Prof Dr Cheong also visited the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch (OPCB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA to conduct some experiments and discussions on collaborative efforts between University of Malaya, CARIF and the NIH. USA
Oral Cancer Research Team was awarded a RM 60,000 research grant from the Honjo International Scholarship Foundation. This grant will fund our project entitled ‘Selection of candidate cancer vaccine peptides and the determination of the presence of regulatory T cells in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients’.Datin Dr. Amyza Saleh, the first of CARIF-University of Malaya student successfully completed her PhD. Her PhD work described differences in gene expression in oral cancers from the different sites of the oral cavity, which could be responsible at least in part for the clinical differences that are observed in these cancers.
Oral Cancer Research Team was awarded E-Science grant from Ministry Science, Technology and Innovation amounting to RM 200K for two years. This grant will fund our work in developing antigen-specific vaccines for oral cancer treatment.
Prof Cheong Sok Ching was nominated under the Science and Technology category for the Women’s Weekly “Great Women of Our Time Awards 2011”. This award honours 18 outstanding women who are making significant contributions to their fields and to society.
Dr. Lim Kue Peng received a travel bursary from the Japanese Cancer Association to attend the 70th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association where she presented her work on peptide vaccine development for oral cancer.
Ms Gan Chai Phei, the 2nd batch of CARIF-University of Malaya student successfully completed her MSc and continues her research with the Oral Cancer Research Team, CARIF. Her MSc work involves delineating how specific genes cause oral cancer development.
Datin Amyza Saleh received a travel bursary from University of Malaya to attend the 4th Hiroshima Conference on Education and Science in Dentistry, Japan where she presented her PhD findings on the influence of the cancer site in the gene expression patterns of oral cancer.
Prof Cheong Sok Ching, Kong Yink Heay and Yee Pei San attended the 4th Regional Conference on Molecular Medicine at G-Hotel, Penang. A total of two papers were presented as oral presentation. Kong Yink Heay won the best presentation award on her work describing the association between the expression of EMT markers and the pattern of invasion - a histological feature used to describe oral cancer.
CARIF was invited to attend World Oral Health Day celebration at Tropicana City Mall, Petaling Jaya. The World Oral Health Day was celebrated with the launch of the National Oral Health Plan for Malaysia 2011-2012. In addition many booths were set up promoting better oral care including information on oral cancer in line to increase awareness among the public.
Prof Cheong’s visited UK for a collaborative meeting with Prof Stephen Prime (University of Bristol) and Prof Ken Parkinson (Queen Mary, School of Medicine and Dentistry, London) to study the genetic mechanisms underlying malignant transformation of precancerous lesions, a project funded in University of Malaya by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). During this visit, Prof. Cheong was invited to speak at Kings’ College London on the work by the Oral Cancer Research Team at CARIF. She was also invited to give another talk at the St. Georges Hospital Medical School, London on the identification of therapeutic targets for oral cancer.
Together with the Oral Cancer Research and Co-ordinating Centre (OCRCC), UM, Prof Cheong’s participated in an oral cancer screening programme in Miri Sarawak, led by Dr. Thaddius Herman and Dr. Nurshaline Pauline Kipli from the Ministry of Health. Prof. Cheong gave a talk on the “The Genetic Clues to Malignant Transformation” to the Dental Officers who were attended a meeting on “STANDARDISATION AND CALIBRATION OF DENTAL OFFICERS FOR EARLY DETECTION OF ORAL CANCER AND POTENTIALLY MALIGNANT LESIONS”.
As follow up to the 3rd IAOO Conference in Singapore, oral cancer research team received a visit from Prof. Saman Warnakulasuriya from King’s College London. Prof Saman is the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Cancer and Precancer. We are collaborating with Prof Saman on a project to study the factors that are associated with malignant transformation of precancerous lesions of the oral cavity, a project funded in University of Malaya by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE).
Prof Cheong Sok Ching and Datin Amyza Saleh attended the 36th Annual Conference of the Malaysian Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (MSBMB) which was held at Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya. Datin Amyza Saleh work describing the molecular heterogeneity of oral cancer was selected for an oral presentation.
In conjunction with the 9th Asian Congress on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the Oral Cancer Team organised a pre-congress workshop entitled “Molecular Advancements in Oral Oncology.” This workshop was aimed at updating participants on the impact of molecular research in the clinical setting and gave the participants a feel of the type of research that take place in the field of oral oncology. The workshop was attended by 15 local and international delegates.
The oral cancer research team hosted Dr Gunaretnam Rajagopal, Executive Director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey on a Malaysian Ministry of Science (MOSTI) and Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM) Brain Gain Distinguished Visitors Programme. Dr Guna’s teams are conducting research to develop specific cancer therapies and personalized medicine for individual patients.
Dr. Lim Kue Peng was one of three recipients to be awarded the prestigious L’Oreal Malaysia for Women in Science Award 2010. The award, worth RM20, 000 goes towards Dr Lim’s work on developing peptide vaccine for oral cancer, a type of targeted therapy that uses vaccine to train immune cells to recognize and kill cancer cells.
Dr Teo Soo Hwang, Dr Cheong Sok Ching and Dr Lee Hong Boon gave a presentation during the My1Bio Conferene 2010 at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The presentations’ titles were “Genetic predisposition to breast cancer in Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population”, “Identification of targetable cancer proteins and the development of novel therapeutics in oral squamous cell carcinoma” and “Naturally-derived photosensitisers for photodynamic therapy” respectively. A total of 8 posters were also presented at the conference.
Prof Cheong Sok Ching received an AACR Scholar-In-Traning Award supported by Susan G. Comen for the Cure and AFLAC, and together with Sharifah Nurain Syed Zanaruddin, they presented their work at the 4th AACR International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, Denver, Colorado, USA entitled "Four-protein signature accurately predicts lymph node metastasis and survival in oral squamous cell carcinoma".
Dr Sathibalan, Director of the Cancer Vaccines Programme at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, USA was invited to conduct a Immunology workshop at CARIF under the Malaysian Ministry of Science (MOSTI) and Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM) Brain Gain Distinguished Visitors Programme. Various immunological methods were taught in the workshop, including peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolation, preparation of dendritic cells, ELISPOT and immunostaining.
The Oral Cancer Research Team, together with researchers from University of Malaya and clinicians from the Oral Health Division, Ministry of Health has successfully obtained the University of Malaya Research Grant amounting to RM 150,000 to work on a project entitled ‘High throughput profiling of signaling molecules in oral cancer’. This project will be using Sequenom platform catalogue the common mutations in oral cancer that could affect the management of these patients.
The Oral Cancer Research Team, together with researchers from University of Malaya and clinicians from the Oral Health Division, Ministry of Health has successfully obtained a High Impact Research Grant from University of Malaya amounting to RM 800, 000 to work on a project entitled “Identification of High-value genomic and genetic markers for oral cancer diagnosis and tumourigenesis by analysis of differential gene expression and copy number variations (CNV) and the development of targeted therapy and biomarker for oral cancer prognostication’. This project aims to determine how cancer genes cause cancer so that we can develop drugs for the treatment of cancer.
The oral cancer research team hosted Dr Satibalan, Director of the Cancer Vaccines Programme at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, USA on a Malaysian Ministry of Science (MOSTI) and Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM) Brain Gain Distinguished Visitors Programme. Dr Balan’s team has developed peptide vaccines targeting the HER2 protein for the treatment of breast cancer.
The oral cancer research team was featured in an interview in the Medical Tribune and Oncology Tribune. In this interview, Professor Cheong described a collaboration between CARIF, UM and the National Institutes of Health in developing and testing nanodevices for the detection and disease monitoring of oral cancer.
The oral cancer research team, together with researchers at University Malaya, Ministry of Health and Bioinformatics Institute in Singapore and the Genome Institute of Singapore, publishes a paper in Oral Oncology showing that gene expression profiling can be conducted efficiently using paraffin-embedded material. The ability to use this type of tissue opens up the possibilities for helping us identify genes that are clinically relevant that could improve the way that we manage cancer patients.
In collaboration with the Malaysian Genome Institute and through a grant provided by the Malaysian Ministry of Science Human Resource Development Grant, the Oral Cancer and Nasopharyngeal Cancer Research Teams at CARIF jointly organized a workshop entitled “Molecular Tools in Biomarker Development: Distinguishing Drivers from Noise” from 3 to 7 May 2010. The workshop enabled local researchers to perform experiments to study the function of specific genes and included knock-in and knock-out experiments, imaging, proliferation assays, invasion assays and migration assays. The teaching faculty for this workshop were Dr. Vyomesh Patel (NIH, USA), Dr. Vivek Tanavde (Bioinformatics Institute Singapore), Dr. Norfilza Mohd Mokhtar (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia), Prof. Dr. Cheong Sok Ching and Dr. Yap Lee Fah (CARIF).
The University Malaya Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre, led by Professor Rosnah Zain and CARIF Oral Cancer Research team successfully obtained a two-year University Malaya High Impact Research Grant and a University Malaya Research Grant to work on molecular mechanisms of oral cancer.
Group Leader of the Oral Cancer Research Team, Dr Cheong Sok Ching was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya.
Dr Lim Kue Peng, the third CARIF-University of Bristol PhD student successfully completes her PhD and returns to Malaysia to join the Oral Cancer Research Team. Her PhD work describes the heterogeneity of fibroblasts in the tumour microenvironment and their role in contributing to, and promoting the development of oral cancer.
Dr. Cheong Sok Ching received a travel bursary to attend the “Working with the Human Geneome Sequence” workshop in Thailand to learn to analyze sequence data and utilize existing databases and softwares that are freely available in the internet.
The Oral Cancer Team received a Capacity Building Grant to increase Oral Cancer Awareness amongst the general public. The team worked with the Universiti Malaya, Ministry of Health and Media Prima to run programmes on TV3, NTV7, 8TV and 9TV to educate the public on the early signs of oral cancer and to empower individuals to seek treatment early.
Ms. Gan Chai Phei received the UICC (ICRETT) Fellowship from the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) to work with Drs. J. Silvio Gutkind and Vyomesh Patel to develop in vivo models of oral cancer using Malaysian Oral Cancer Cell Lines.
Dr. Cheong Sok Ching received a travel bursary to attend the “UICC Capacity Building Workshop: Public Health Communication for Cancer Prevention: Capacity Building for Research and Practice” in Singapore to learn the techniques in conducting surveys, planning public campaigns and influencing policy changes.
Dr. Cheong Sok Ching and her team published a paper with their collaborators from the University Malaya, Ministry of Health Malaysia and the National Institutes of Health, USA in Oral Oncology describing the distinct gene expression signatures from oral cancer patients who smoke from those who chew betel quid.
CARIF Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research, Dr Cheong Sok Ching was interviewed in the HerWorld Magazine. In this article, she talked about pursuing a career in science, people who inspired her and the misconceptions people have about scientists.
The Oral Cancer Research Team at CARIF hosted Professor Stephen Prime under the Distinguish Visitor, Brain Gain Malaysia Programme. During this time, the team and Professor Prime worked together to develop in vitro models of oral cancer to better understand the biological mechanisms underlying the disease. We organized 2 seminars in conjunction with Prof. Stephen Prime’s visit. The first organized with the Academy of Sciences Malaysia was attended by well over 60 delegates from 13 institutions. The second seminar was organized together with the University of Malaya and the Ministry of Health and was attended by 171 delegates from Indonesia and all over Malaysia (12 states). This event was covered by the Medical Tribune.
Dr Cheong Sok Ching, CARIF Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research is interviewed in the Medical Tribune. In this article, she describes her team’s work in unraveling the genetic changes associated with oral cancer development. In addition, she describes the collaboration between individuals from different institutes and multiple disciplines, which is the crucial factor underpinning the success in any research project.
Together with our collaborators at University of London, the Oral Cancer Research Team published a paper in PLOS One. This paper describes the involvement of a gene called FOXM1 that can be induced by nicotine in oral cancer development and cautions the use of nicotine in tobacco replacement treatment strategies.
Together with our collaborators in University Malaya, Ministry of Health and Kaohsiung Medical University the Oral Cancer Research Team published a paper in Oral Oncology describing the presence of genetic changes in a gene named MDM2 in oral cancer patients. We report that this genetic change can modulate risk to oral cancer.
The Oral Cancer team’s paper describing the differences in the gene expression patterns between oral cancer in smokers and those in betel quid chewers was accepted for publication in Oral Oncology. This data suggests that differences in aetiological factors should be taken into consideration in biomarker discovery particularly when these information influences the way we treat cancer patients. This work was done in collaboration with University Malaya, Oral Health Division, Ministry of Health, Sime Darby Medical Centre, National Institutes of Health USA and University of Bristol.
Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research, Dr Cheong Sok Ching was one of three recipients of the prestigious L’Oreal Malaysia for Women in Science Award. The L’Oreal Award is the Malaysian chapter of the L’Oreal Unesco for Women in Science Award which has been rewarding outstanding achievements by women for more than a decade. The award, worth RM20,000 goes towards Dr Cheong’s work on using oral cancer cell lines that have been set up at CARIF as laboratory models to help us understand the disease better to improve on how we manage oral cancer patients.
The Oral Cancer Research Team at CARIF, together with collaborators at University Malaya, filed a patent on a method for detection and diagnosis of oral and nasopharyngeal cancers. The invention relates to discovery of genes which are specifically upregulated in these cancers and may have utility candidates for targeted therapy.
CARIF Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research, Dr. Cheong Sok Ching was awarded e-Science grant from Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) to investigate the functional role of putative oral cancer genes discovered through microarray studies that were conducted on formalin fixed paraffin embedded samples. This work is a collaboration between CARIF and the OCRCC (Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre), University Malaya.
CARIF Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research, Dr. Cheong Sok Ching was awarded the UICC Fellowship to conduct collaborative research in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Prime, University of Bristol. Dr Cheong Sok Ching and Mr Chong Chan Eng establish methods to create 3D cultures of oral cancer to study the function of putative oral cancer genes.
The Oral Cancer team’s work conducted in collaboration with University Malaya and other collaborators entitled ‘MDM2 SNP309 does not confer and increased risk to oral squamous cell carcinoma but may modulate the age of disease onset’ is accepted for publication in Oral Oncology. The paper reports that a single nucleotide change in the MDM2 gene does not increase the risk to oral cancer in general but may modify the age of oral cancer onset in women above the age of 55 years.
The Oral Cancer team signs an agreement for research collaboration with Bioinformatics Institute, Biomedical Sciences Institute, Singapore to work on microarray data generated at CARIF.
Group Leader for Oral Cancer Research, Dr Cheong Sok Ching was featured in the personality section of the New Sunday Times on 6 January 2008, in a feature article entitled “Glimer of Hope”. In this article, she tells about her team’s work to identify new molecular targets for mouth and nose cancer.
CARIF Oral Cancer Researcher, Ms Gan Chai Phei was awarded the Young Investigator Award at the 2nd Regional Conference on Molecular Medicine, KL for her collaborative work with University Malaya on the effects of valproic acid on oral cancer development.
Professor Stephen Prime was awarded the Malaysian Ministry of Science Brain Gain Distinguished Visitor Award, through the Academy of Sciences, to visit CARIF’s laboratories in August 2007. Stephen Prime, a professor at University of Bristol, is a prominent figure in the field of oral cancer and has collaborated with CARIF since 2001. During his visit, Professor Prime lectured in a one-day seminar series entitled “Understanding oral cancer: towards personalized treatment of cancer”, conducted a review of the on-going projects in the oral cancer team and met with other collaborators of CARIF to discuss collaborative projects.
The Oral Cancer team’s work, conducted in collaboration with University Malaya was presented at the 1st World Congress of the Academy of Oral Oncology in Amsterdam. Datin Amyza Salleh’s work was selected for oral presentation and describes the use of paraffin-embedded tissues for the determination of global gene expression profiles of oral cancers to determine the key genetic changes in oral cancer development.
The Oral Cancer team’s work, conducted in collaboration with Malaysia Ministry of Health Institute for Medical Research, which shows that the Human Papilloma Virus may be associated with oral cancer development was published in Oncology Reports.
The Group Leader for the Oral Cancer Research, Dr Cheong Sok Ching was selected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Oral Oncology. The International Academy seeks to bring together clinicians and scientists working together in the field of oral oncology so that advances in medical science can be made and translated speedily into benefits for patients.
The Oral Cancer team’s work, conducted in collaboration with University Malaya, Ministry of Health and various other collaborators, on the establishment and characterization of Asian oral cancer cell lines was published in International Journal of Molecular Medicine. The paper describes the development of 3 cell lines from Malaysian oral cancer patients and opens up new tools for the study of oral cancer in Asians, which arises mainly in betel quid chewers, in contrast to oral cancers in Caucasians, which arises mainly in smokers.
CARIF was awarded e-Science grants of RM100,000 each from Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) for two cancer projects – one on breast cancer and the other on oral cancer.
Dr Cheong Sok Ching was invited to give a CME talk entitled “Establishment of in vitro models for cancer research” at the Institute of Medical Research, Ministry of Health, Kuala Lumpur.
After having successfully completing a UICC Fellowship in the National Institutes of Health, USA, Dr Cheong was appointed as a Fellow of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC).
In collaboration with the Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre at University Malaya, the Oral Cancer Research Team jointly organize a post-conference workshop entitled “Molecular Techniques in Oral Cancer Research”. This workshop was attended by clinicians and scientists from India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Malaysia. Teaching faculty included Dr Cheong Sok Ching (CARIF, Malaysia), Dr Saman Warnakulasuriya (UK), Dr Salah Ibrahim (Norway) and Dr Ranja Ralham (India).
In collaboration with researchers at University Malaya and Ministry of Health, CARIF researchers publish a report in Journal of Experimental Clinical Cancer Research showing that overexpression of human telomerase can be efficiently detected in oral cancers.
CARIF’s Group Leader for the Oral Cancer Project (Dr Cheong Sok Ching) was awarded the UICC International Cancer Fellowship for an attachment at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA, in the laboratory of Dr J. Silvio Gutkind.
CARIF won the Young Investigator’s award (Dr Cheong Sok Ching), the First and Second Prize for Best Poster in Applied Science Category at the 1st Regional Conference on Molecular Medicine.
CARIF established Malaysia’s first oral cancer cell line derived from a Malaysian patient.
The 6th General Assembly of Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention (APOCP) was held on the 26th -29th April 2012 in Kuching. The theme of the meeting was “Clinical Epidemiology and Practical Interventions: The future of cancer Control in the Asian Pacific Region” brought together experts from the region to discuss strategies to address challenges including late disease presentation, treatment options and the setting up of effective cancer registries. Members of the oral cancer team Prof Cheong Sok Ching and Ms Ivy Chiang presented an oral presentation describing the establishment of oral cancer cell lines andthe use of these to identify genes that drive oral cancer development. Further, they also described the use of these laboratory models for the testing of novel therapeutics that are currently being developed in the Oral Cancer Research Team at CARIF.
The Asia-Pacific Cancer Society Training Grants (APCASOT) fall under the central strategy of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Cancer Council Australia (CCA) in developing the cancer control capacity of the Asia-Pacific region. Prof Dr. Cheong Sok Ching from the Oral Cancer Research Team was amongst the 4 individuals who were awarded this grant in 2012 to visit the Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) from the 16th – 20th of April 2012. Together with our collaborators in University of Malaya and the Oral Health Division, Ministry of Heath, the Oral Cancer Research Team at CARIF has been actively involved in oral cancer awareness and education programmes and has been a recipient of the Capacity Building Grant from the UICC to run a nationwide oral cancer awareness campaign in 2010. The APCASOT training will enable us to continue running effective campaigns with the aim of reducing the burden of cancer.