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$2.5 million boost for lymphoma research through Tanoto Foundation

May 18, 2016

Professorship will focus on research to improve diagnostic and clinical outcomes for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Singapore, May 18, 2016 - The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre announced today that a S$2.5 million Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Medical Oncology has been conferred to Assoc Prof Lim Soon Thye, Head and Senior Consultant of the Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore; and Assistant Dean at Duke-NUS Medical School.

The Professorship recognises Assoc Prof Lim as an outstanding clinician and researcher who has demonstrated academic leadership with his pioneering work on the genetic basis of cancers that are prevalent in Asia. The funding aims to advance Assoc Prof Lim's research on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer prevalent in Asia that ranks among the top 10 cancers in Singapore.

Assoc Prof Lim's research focuses on lymphoid malignancies, and particularly on T and NK/T cell lymphomas that occur more frequently among Asians. There is currently no standard accepted treatment for these lymphomas, and even with conventional chemotherapy, less than 50 per cent of these patients can be cured.

He is co-founder of the Asian Lymphoma Study Group, which brings together researchers across Asia to collaborate on Asian-related lymphoma studies. He is also founder of the Singapore Lymphoma Study Group that galvanises Singapore researchers in basic and translational research for lymphoma. To date, the group has set up a clinical and pathological database of more than 3,000 patients in Singapore and a tissue bank encompassing more than 1,000 blood and close to 500 frozen tissue specimens. Together, these resources have boosted researchers' ability to examine the lymphoma's molecular manner of development.

Professor Soo Khee Chee, Deputy CEO (Research & Education), SingHealth and Senior Vice Dean, Clinical, Academic & Faculty Affairs, Duke-NUS Medical School shares, "The incidence of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma has increased dramatically worldwide, especially in Asia, but diagnostic and treatment outcomes remain poor. This Professorship will advance the search for novel diagnostic strategies, drugs and treatments that can improve survival for lymphoma patients."

Over the years, Assoc Prof Lim's research has gained much traction, with work published in major international journals. He is currently the lead investigator of the National Lymphoma Translational Research Programme that is funded by the National Medical Research Council. He is also one of the principal investigators of the blood cancer (T cell lymphoma) genomics project at the International Cancer Genomics Consortium, a voluntary scientific organisation that provides a forum for collaboration among the world's leading cancer and genomic researchers.

The Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Medical Oncology is part of a $3 million gift from the Tanoto Foundation. The remaining sum will be used to set up the Tanoto Foundation Initiative in Asian Lymphoma Research.The gift was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Singapore Government.

Mr Sukanto Tanoto, Founder of Tanoto Foundation and Chairman of its Board of Trustees, said, "The Foundation is pleased to support innovative work to find remedies for heart diseases and cancer which are leading causes of adult mortality. We are hopeful that Asia-focussed lymphoma research will promote breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment, thereby improving the quality of life for patients and their families."
Media contact:

Anjana Krishna
SingHealth Group Communications
Tel: 65-6377-8056

About Singapore Health Services (SingHealth)

The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre draws on the collective strengths of SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School to drive the transformation of healthcare and provide affordable, accessible, quality healthcare. With 42 clinical specialties, a network of 2 Hospitals, 5 National Specialty Centres, 9 Polyclinics and Bright Vision Community Hospital, it delivers comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and integrated care. In 2018, the Sengkang General Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital will be completed to serve the community in the north-east of Singapore. To enhance community care, the new Outram Community Hospital on SGH Campus will be completed in 2020.

For more information, please visit:

Members of the SingHealth group

Hospitals (Tertiary Specialty Care):

Singapore General Hospital, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital (expected completion: 2018)

National Specialty Centres (Tertiary Specialty Care):

National Cancer Centre Singapore, National Dental Centre Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore, National Neuroscience Institute, and Singapore National Eye Centre

SingHealth Polyclinics (Primary Care):

Bedok, Bukit Merah, Geylang, Marine Parade, Outram, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Sengkang, and Tampines

Community Hospitals (Intermediate and Long-term Care):

Bright Vision Hospital, Sengkang Community Hospital (expected completion: 2018), Outram Community Hospital (expected completion: 2020)

About Duke-NUS Medical School

The Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) was established in 2005 as a strategic collaboration between the Duke University School of Medicine, located in North Carolina, USA, and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Duke-NUS offers a graduate-entry, 4-year MD (Doctor of Medicine) training programme based on the unique Duke model of education, with one year dedicated to independent study and research projects of a basic science or clinical nature. Duke-NUS also offers MD/PhD and PhD programmes. Duke-NUS has five Signature Research Programmes: Cancer and Stem Cell Biology, Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders, and Health Services and Systems Research.

Duke-NUS and SingHealth have established a strategic partnership in academic medicine that will guide and promote the future of medicine, tapping on and combining the collective strengths of SingHealth's clinical expertise and Duke-NUS' biomedical sciences research and medical education capabilities.

For more information, please visit

About Tanoto Foundation Professorship
  • Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Medical Oncology
  • Tanoto Foundation Professorship in Diabetes Research

In 2009, Tanoto Foundation made its first donation of S$5 million to Duke-NUS to establish a Professorship and Research Initiative in Diabetes. Following this, Tanoto Foundation contributed another S$3 million each, to support the Professorship in Medical Oncology and Research Initiative in Asian Lymphoma, as well as the Professorship in Cardiovascular Medicine and Research Initiative in Genetics & Stem Cell, bringing a total of S$11 million in donations.

These donations have enabled the advancement of research and medicine in Asia to identify new ways of diagnosing patients with high accuracy, thereby allowing early prevention and better treatments.

About Tanoto Foundation

Founded by Sukanto Tanoto and his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, Tanoto Foundation strives to be a centre of excellence in poverty alleviation through education, empowerment, and enhancement of quality of lives. Tanoto Foundation's mission is to work with communities and partners to address root causes of poverty in countries where the Tanoto family has significant presence.

To date, Tanoto Foundation has provided over 20,000 scholarships, built several schools and education facilities that produced 27,000 graduates, developed 60,000 hectares of Community Livelihood Plantations and created more than 1,800 jobs in local communities through Small to Medium size Enterprise (SME) programmes. As an accomplished self-made entrepreneur, visionary and pioneer of a number of industries in Indonesia, Mr Sukanto's success in growing his business empire is widely recognised. Despite having to leave school at the age of 17 to support his family, his relentless hunger for knowledge drives him to continue learning through various means, including taking up courses in renowned universities around the world till today.

In 2012, he was awarded the Wharton School Dean's Medal Award -- which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the enlargement of the global economy and to the improvement of lives worldwide.


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