Newshub - NUS' News Portal

4 March 2009

NUS Receives $12m Gift from Goh Foundation to Advance Paediatric Oncology Challenge

Past Releases :  

Official Opening of the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre

The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS) today received a S$12 million gift from the Goh Foundation to help advance knowledge in the treatment of childhood cancer here under the Viva Children's Cancer Program established by Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer. The gift was announced at the official opening of the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre. Housed in the University Children's Medical Institute, National University Hospital (NUH), the Centre will also work closely with the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS), Singapore and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis,Tennessee,USA.

The Goh Foundation gift will attract the prevailing dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Singapore Government, bringing the total funding to S$24 million. These funds will be used to establish the Viva-Goh Foundation Professorship in Paediatric Oncology, as well as to embark on four research programmes for Bone Marrow Transplant, Childhood Leukemia, Bone Cancer and After Completion of Therapy.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, "We are deeply encouraged by the Goh Foundation's kind generosity in making this gift during these difficult economic times. The gift will be a great boost to research on childhood cancer, which is the second major cause of death among children in Singapore."

Every year, there are about 120 to 140 newly diagnosed cases, and approximately 43% are children with leukemia. The numbers are rising. The estimated cure rate for childhood leukemia in Singapore averages 80%. Viva Foundation aims to raise the cure rate through the Viva Children's Cancer Programme. Viva Foundation's strategic partner St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has achieved a projected cure rate of about 90% and a five year survival rate of about 94%.

"Cancer research is one of NUS' flagship research programmes and the gift from the Goh Foundation will provide strong support for high impact research that enhances our understanding of the disease, and accelerates the establishment of an internationally competitive programme for childhood cancer treatment and care. NUS, together with the National University Health System, will continue to partner the Viva Foundation to improve treatment of children with cancer," Prof Tan added.

The Medical Director of the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre, Associate Professor Allen Yeoh, too expressed gratitude for the gift. "In the current severe recessionary climate, we are truly grateful to the Goh Foundation for their generosity. Part of the gift will be used to fund four research programmes in paediatric oncology. With a strong clinical component, these programmes will directly impact treatment outcomes by translating research into better and more effective cancer treatments," said Dr Yeoh, who is Senior Consultant, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University Children's Medical Institute, NUH. Dr Yeoh is also an Associate Professor with the Department of Paediatrics at the School, which together with the NUH and NCIS are members of the National University Health System (NUHS).

The Director and Secretary of Viva Foundation, Mrs Jennifer Yeo, said, "We are very thankful for this precious gift by the Goh Foundation towards our Viva Children's Cancer Program. There is an urgent need for us to respond to the cries of children with cancer in Singapore and the whole region. We are confident that with the support of all our donors, volunteers and strategic partners, we can save many young lives. I believe that this work of mercy that all of us have begun together will continue long after we are gone."

The opening of the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre marks a significant milestone in improving treatment of childhood cancers. The Centre is a one-stop treatment facility that provides holistic, affordable and patient-and-family-friendly care for children with cancer in Singapore.

Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre's roots go back to 2006

The Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer, founded in 2006, aims to improve patient care and treatment by supporting translational-clinical research as well as training and education of doctors and nurses from Singapore and the region.

At its launch, Viva Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, USA), NUS and NUH to work in partnership to improve the survival rate and treatment of children with cancer, especially leukaemia, in Singapore and Asia. The Mrs Lee Kong Chian Memorial Chair for Director of Advanced Clinical and Translational Research in Childhood Leukemia and Cellular Therapy in NUH was established in the same year, funded by a S$3 million donation by the Lee Foundation. The professorship supports the recruitment of a distinguished doctor to lead the Paediatric Stem Cell Transplantation Programme in NUH, which focuses on developing new exciting therapies that leverage on a donors' immunity to fight cancer. The donation has been matched by a government grant of the same amount.

Integral to Viva Foundation's mission is its facilitation of scientific exchange and education. Hence, the annual St. Jude-Viva Forum in Paediatric Oncology, which is now into its third year. The Forum brings world leaders in childhood leukemia and lymphoma as well as other experts from all over Asia to Singapore to share knowledge and experience.

Since 2006, Viva Foundation and its supporters have raised about S$24 million for the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre and the Viva Children's Cancer Programme. Modelled after the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the United States, which is the leading centre in the world for children with cancer, the physical set-up of the Centre and its entire environment is designed for holistic care required to aid the recovery of young cancer patients. The patient-centric Centre is equipped with an inpatient centre with stem cell transplantation suite, a day therapy centre and outpatient consultation clinics, all under one roof.

The Centre focuses medical care, academic research and teaching to provide the best chance of cure for every child with cancer. It provides training for doctors, nurses, technologists, administrators, care-givers and other personnel from both Singapore and the region, in the care, treatment and follow-up of children with cancer and childhood cancer survivors.

The Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer

Viva Foundation for Children with Cancer was launched in May 2006 in a bid to improve survival rate and cure of children with cancer, especially childhood leukemia, in Singapore and the region, and to promote clinical and translational research and training of doctors and nurses.

Viva is derived from a Latin root word and popularly used in Italian and Spanish to mean "Long Live". This underscores the foundation's mission to extend and preserve lives. Funds raised by Viva has been used to establish the Viva-University Children's Cancer Centre, housed at National University Hospital (NUH), to set up clinical and translational research programmes for the treatment of childhood leukemia and cellular therapy and to establish a regional training centre for doctors and nurses from Singapore and the region.

For more information, please visit

The National University of Singapore

A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore's flagship university which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

NUS has 14 faculties and schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 30,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.

Well-known for its research strengths in engineering, life sciences and biomedicine, social sciences and natural sciences, NUS shares a close affiliation with 22 university-level, 16 national-level and more than 80 faculty-based research institutes and centres. The University also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.

For more information, please visit

The National University Health System

Established in January 2008, the National University Health System (NUHS) groups the National University Hospital and the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry under a common governance structure to create synergies to advance its tripartite mission of excellence in clinical care, translational clinical research and education.

For more information, please visit

The National University Hospital

The National University Hospital (NUH) is a specialist hospital that provides advanced, leading-edge medical care and services. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities as well as dedicated and well-trained staff, the NUH is a major referral centre that delivers tertiary care for a wide range of medical specialties including Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery. Backed by substantive expertise and experience, the NUH has been chosen by the Ministry of Health to develop two new national specialist centres to meet the growing need for cardiac and cancer treatments.

The NUH, together with the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry, are under the common governance of the National University Health System (NUHS). With combined capabilities and facilities (from the teaching hospital and the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine), the NUH will be able to meet the healthcare needs of patients, train future generations of doctors more effectively, and help develop solutions to our healthcare problems through research.

In 2004, the NUH became the first Singapore hospital to receive Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation, an international stamp for excellent clinical practices in patient care and safety. It was also the first hospital in Singapore to receive a triple ISO certification concurrently for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems in 2002.

For more information, please visit

The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

The Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine was established in 1905 as the first institution of higher learning in Singapore and the genesis of what would become the National University of Singapore.

The School of Medicine strives to fulfill its tripartite mission of providing excellent clinical care, training the next generation of healthcare professionals, and fostering research that will transform the practice of medicine. It plays a pivotal role in producing future leaders in healthcare delivery, discovery, and public service as well as in Singapore's Biomedical Sciences Initiative and Singapore Medicine.

The School's 17 departments in the basic sciences and clinical specialties work closely with the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, and the Centre of Excellence for Health Services Research to ensure that teaching and research are aligned and relevant to Singapore's healthcare needs. In January 2008, the School of Medicine, the Faculty of Dentistry and the National University Hospital were unified under the common governance of the National University Health System, further enhancing quality clinical care, education, and research.

For more information, please visit

The University Children's Medical Institute

The University Children's Medical Institute is part of the National University Health System, and provides comprehensive treatment for children - emergency care, outpatient care and inpatient hospital care. It is one of the best in the world in clinical outcomes for conditions such as childhood leukemia, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant, liver transplant and kidney dialysis in children.

Giving chemotherapy and performing bone marrow transplantations is only one aspect of curing cancer in children. A comprehensive multi-disciplinary supportive care system to manage the complications arising from high intensity cancer treatment is critical for the success of any world class paediatric oncology programme. The VIVA-University Children's Cancer Centre is housed in the University Children's Medical Institute at the National University Hospital where the availability of these supportive cares is critical for success.

The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) offers a broad spectrum of cancer care and management that ranges from public education, screening and early diagnosis, to treatment and long-term health maintenance. NCIS' strength lies in the multidisciplinary approach taken to develop a comprehensive and personalised plan for each cancer patient, from diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to follow-up care. This is done by leveraging on the expertise of our specialists from the fields of medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, paediatric oncology, gynecologic oncology, surgical oncology, radiology, pharmacy, laboratory medicine and pathology, nursing oncology and other allied health sciences.

NCIS' outreach programmes encourage prevention and early screening to help reduce cancer mortality and to diagnose the disease at its most treatable stage. With a number of clinician scientists who are recipients of the Singapore Translational Research Investigator Award (STaR) among us, NCIS has forged an exemplary reputation in translational research and clinical trial programmes, thus providing patients with access to promising breakthroughs in cancer diagnostics, technology and therapies. NCIS also boasts state-of-the-art equipment and uses advanced treatment techniques to enhance cancer survival and quality of life for those afflicted with cancer.