MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Singapore Launches DMOC@Biopolis, Innovative Centre for Molecular Testing

Staff from the National University Hospital and Mirxes processing the biopsy samples in preparation for Next-Generation Sequencing. DMOC@Biopolis

In a significant advancement for precision medicine in Singapore, the National University Hospital (NUH) and biotechnology firm Mirxes have officially opened the NUH DMOC@Biopolis.

This new DMOC@Biopolis centre, situated in Biopolis in Buona Vista, aims to enhance molecular testing for cancer treatments.

Details of the Launch

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, Mr Heng Swee Keat, inaugurated the centre today, marking a key development in the country’s healthcare capabilities. The NUH DMOC@Biopolis operates under a public-private partnership model, integrating substantial clinical expertise from NUH with Mirxes’ advanced diagnostic technologies.

Significance of the Centre

The NUH DMOC@Biopolis is distinguished by its dual licensing under the Healthcare Services Act (HCSA), making it one of the first in Singapore to co-locate public and private molecular testing facilities. This setup is expected to foster innovation and efficiency in developing medical treatments.

Impact on Cancer Treatment

The centre is at the forefront of transforming cancer treatment paradigms through its APEX cancer treatment selection test. The APEX test identifies actionable genetic alterations in tumours using a 50-gene targeted Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) panel. This capability enables physicians to tailor treatments based on individual genetic profiles, enhancing the efficacy and personalization of cancer therapies.

Advantages of the APEX Test:

  • Cost Reduction: The APEX test localises advanced genomic testing. This has reduced costs for public sector patients by more than 50% compared to similar tests conducted abroad.
  • Accelerated Results: The processing time for test results has been significantly reduced to just eight working days. This has improved the speed at which patients can begin targeted treatments.
  • Regional Impact: Since its inception, the APEX test has already benefited over 300 patients in Singapore. It has also benefited over 1,000 in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.

Cost and Accessibility Benefits

The introduction of the APEX test at the NUH DMOC@Biopolis has reduced the cost of advanced genomics techniques by more than 50% compared to overseas options. Additionally, test results are now available in just eight working days, significantly down from the previous three weeks.

Future Developments

The centre plans to launch the COMPASS service, an extensive genomic profiling test examining 1,021 genes. This service is designed further to refine treatment options across various types of solid tumours.

Comments from Officials

A/Prof Tan Soo Yong, Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Pathology, NUH, said: “With cancer being the leading cause of death in Singapore, it is imperative for us, as a leading academic medical centre, to continuously harness science and technology to advance our capabilities in early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. Collaborations with industry partners such as Mirxes remain a critical cornerstone in our pursuit towards advanced solutions and optimised patient outcomes. These partnerships bring our respective teams’ expertise and specialised skills closer to developing patient-focused innovation and lifechanging therapies.”

Conclusion

The opening of the NUH DMOC@Biopolis represents a pivotal step in Singapore’s commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative partnerships and cutting-edge technology. This development not only promises to improve outcomes for cancer patients but also sets a new standard in the treatment and management of the disease.

Caption: Staff from the National University Hospital and Mirxes processing the biopsy samples in preparation for Next-Generation Sequencing.
Photo credit: NUHS

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