At the opening ceremony of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2014, GOH President Tony Tan officially launched the National Heart Research Institute Singapore (NHRIS).   Led by Prof Stuart Cook, Senior Consultant, Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore, the institute’s key research areas are heart function and genetics, regenerative medicine and metabolic heart disease and cardiac imaging.

In conjunction with the launch, President Tony Tan also received on behalf of Cardiovascular Academic Clinical Program, a S$3 million gift cheque from the Tanoto Foundation, of which S$2.5 million will be used to set up the Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Cardiovascular Medicine and S$500,000 will fund the Tanoto Foundation Initiative for Genetics and Stem Cell Research at NHRIS.

Two research breakthroughs by NCCS and SERI were also announced by President in his opening speech at the Congress. One of which is a new study by NCCS, led by Dr Ong Kong Wee, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCCS, which showed that breast cancer surgery is safe for patients above the age of 80.   Dr Ong shared that the results of the study are important as it dispels the misconception and fear among the public that breast cancer surgery for elderly patients is unsafe.

The other research breakthrough by SERI discovered disease risk genes for age-related nuclear cataract. Assoc Prof Cheng Ching-Yu, Senior Clinician Scientist, SERI, and Associate Professor at Duke-NUS, the study’s senior author shared that the findings will help improve clinicians’ understanding of the disease and the discovered genes are potential new therapeutic targets for treatment or drug development to delay cataract formation or growth progression.