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Representative images (above) of triple negative breast cancer tissue stained using a novel pathological technique called multiplex immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence (mIHC/IF) highlighting some of the promising immune markers in the era of cancer immunotherapy. For instance, IDO1 (Yellow) and VEGF (Magenta) have been known to be drug targets as immune modulators; CD38 (Green) and CD39 (Orange) are immune markers on T and myeloid leukocytes indicating the functions of such cells; CD20 (Cyan) is a lineage marker of B lymphocytes. CK+Epcam (Red) are markers to visualise tumor cells. DAPI (blue) highlights the nuclei of all cells in the images. (Magnification, 200X).
In search for treatment options, Mrs Kathy Goh and her family were introduced to the research work of the Division of Pathology in the Singapore General Hospital, that is to use biomarkers to predict the biological behaviour of breast cancer which can lead to more targeted treatments and improve the survival rates for patients in Singapore and Asia.
Helping the next generation of women find targeted treatment for breast diseases such as triple negative breast cancer so that it will no longer be a death sentence was the motivation that prompted the family of the late Mrs Kathy Goh to set up the Kathy Goh Professorship in Pathology Academic Clinical Programme (ACP), in memory of Mrs Goh who passed away in 2018 from the disease.
The Kathy Goh Professorship in Pathology is the first named Professorship for the Pathology team at SGH. At SGH Pathology, research on breast cancer aims to identify biomarkers that can predict and prognosticate the disease, as well as stratify treatment options leading to better survival for patients. In the field of triple negative breast cancer, the team focuses on how the tumour immune micro-environment can influence disease progression and response to therapy. SGH has a large tissue archive of breast cancers which enables researchers to investigate and compare differences between local patients and those from published studies conducted overseas.
With the establishment of the Kathy Goh Professorship, the family hopes that their support can help boost discoveries in breast cancer, the second most common cancer in the world. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore and has been so since 1968 when the Singapore Cancer Registry was formed.