Message from Chairperson
Prof. Dr. Lim Yang Mooi
Cancer is a social and economic burden of healthcare systems not only in Malaysia but worldwide. The incidence of cancer in Malaysia is steadily on the rise, with an estimate of 70,000 newly diagnosed cases each year. Most of the cancer cases are, unfortunately, diagnosed in the late stages which are difficult to treat. This also indicates a lack of societal awareness in the importance of early cancer diagnosis. As a result, prolong hospitalization, absence from work and costs of treatment constitute a significant economic burden not only to the families of cancer patients but also to our nation.
The most prevalent cancers affecting Malaysian males are cancers of the colorectal, lung, nasopharyngeal, prostate and liver; while in Malaysian females are cancers of the breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and nasopharyngeal. Although in recent years we see a vast improvement in the timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer, for example the availability cancer screening protocols and cancer vaccines to the general population, cancer still remains the third leading cause of death in Malaysia. Cancer research, therefore, continues to be important in Malaysia.
Cancer research can cover a wide spectrum of research areas. Development of cancer has long been accepted as a multi-factorial and multi-step process. In fundamental cancer research, studies on elucidating the mechanisms of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis have always been, and still are, the major emphasis in basic cancer researches. Genetic and, more recently, epigenetic factors of cancer are being investigated, which may lead to the development of biomarkers for early cancer detection. Meanwhile, translation cancer research studies put emphasis on clinical applications of basic research findings. Development of therapeutic strategies leading to clinical protocols for cancer treatment is a major thrust of translational cancer research. In this respect, development of viable cellular or in vitro working models for systematic drug or natural product screening is also an important research direction.
The Centre for Cancer Research (CCR) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Tunku Abdul Rahman, aims to provide state-of-the-art facilities and to develop integrated research programmes for fundamental and translational cancer research in Malaysia. The key areas of research will encompass early cancer detection, prognostic monitoring and development of therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. With the availability of the latest research instrumentations, facilities, cutting-edge technical platforms and concepts, the Centre for Cancer Research will strive to become a prominent cancer research hub in Malaysia.