Iain TAN

Iain TAN

Senior Clinician Scientist,
Laboratory of Applied Cancer Genomics





Translational Research is a team sport! Find out more about my team and our research philosophy at the links below:

Video : Pursue your Passion ! (SYA 2014)
Taking the battle against cancer from bench to bedside

Our Research Focus:

We're a translational research team. Our approach is to identify specific situations where advances in science & technology can be exploited to overcome current challenges in the clinical management of cancer.

We focus on 3 areas:

1. Real-time diagnostics -- non-invasive testing with circulating cell free DNA.
This research is performed in partnership with Dr. Sarah Ng from the Genomic Innovation lab.

A. Early detection of cancer recurrence : We're working on finding new diagnostic methods for early detection of cancer recurrence. Cancer patients always face the risk of their cancer returning even after it has been removed. With colorectal cancer, if we pick it up early, there's still chance we can cure our patients, even if the cancer comes back. We're seeking to develop the most accurate, reliable, ultra-sensitive test that can detect recurrence at its earliest stages.

B. Inform choice of the right drug combination for the right patient at the right time. Drug resistance is a major problem in the clinic. During treatment, Cancer constantly evolves and acquires different genetic alterations leading to escape from therapeutic control. ctDNA offers a route to identify evolving alterations in real time thus equipping physicians with knowledge to stay ahead by individualizing the most optimal drug combination to control each patient's cancer across time.

2. Metastasis : In the clinic, current targeted therapies are able to shrink tumors (tumor regression) but have generally failed to prevent metastasis. Cancer is fatal because it invades and metastasizes to distant organs. Working together with Dr. Clarinda Chua (medical oncologist, NCCS), A/P Dasgupta and Dr. Tam Wai Leong (GIS), we are using patient-derived models to study mechanisms of metastasis & drug resistance and identify treatment strategies designed specifically to prevent metastasis.

3. Immuno-oncology: Our approach uses patient-derived immune cells (tumor infiltrating and peripheral immune cells) with corresponding patient derived tumor models. We seek to characterize effective and ineffective immune response in colorectal cancer and develop individualized immunotherapeutic approaches leveraging on genomic and experimental characterization of immune cells, tumor cells from the same patient. Our research platform puts together a strong translational research team comprising Dr. Koo Si-Lin (medical oncologist, NCCS), A/P Dasgupta Ram & Dr. Paul Choi (GIS) and Dr. Evan Newell (SIGN).

Selected Publications

  • Fukawa T, Yan-Jiang BC, Min-Wen JC, Jun-Hao ET, Huang D, Qian CN, Ong P, Li Z, Chen S, Mak SY, Lim WJ, Kanayama HO, Mohan RE, Wang RR, Lai JH, Chua C, Ong HS, Tan KK, Ho YS, Tan IB*, Teh BT*, Shyh-Chang N* "Excessive fatty acid oxidation induces muscle atrophy in cancer cachexia." Nat Med 2016 Jun ; 22(6) : 666-71 Abstract
  • Simoni Y, Fehlings M, Kløverpris HN, McGovern N, Koo SL, Loh CY, Lim S, Kurioka A, Fergusson JR, Tang CL, Kam MH, Dennis K, Lim TK, Fui AC, Hoong CW, Chan JK, Curotto de Lafaille M, Narayanan S, Baig S, Shabeer M, Toh SE, Tan HK, Anicete R, Tan EH, Takano A, Klenerman P, Leslie A, Tan DS, Tan IB, Ginhoux F, Newell EW "Human Innate Lymphoid Cell Subsets Possess Tissue-Type Based Heterogeneity in Phenotype and Frequency." Immunity 2016 Dec 06 Abstract
  • Iain Beehuat Tan*†, Simeen Malik†, Kalpana Ramnarayanan†, John R McPherson†, Dan Liang Ho, Yuka Suzuki, Sarah Boonhsui Ng, Su Yan, Kiat Hon Lim, Dennis Koh, Chew Min Hoe, Chung Yip Chan, Rachel Ten, Brian KP Goh, Alexander YF Chung, Joanna Tan, Cheryl Xueli Chan, Su Ting Tay, Lezhava Alexander, Niranjan Nagarajan, Axel M Hillmer, Choon Leong Tang, Clarinda Chua, Bin Tean Teh*, Steve Rozen* and Patrick Tan* High-depth sequencing of over 750 genes supports linear progression of primary tumors and metastases in most patients with liver-limited metastatic colorectal cancer Genome Biology Feb 2015, 16:32 *Co-corresponding Abstract
  • Lei Z, Tan IB, Das K, Deng N, Zouridis H, et al. "Identification of molecular subtypes of gastric cancer with different responses to PI3-kinase inhibitors and 5-fluorouracil." Gastroenterology 2013 Sep ; 145(3) : 554-65 Epub 2013 May 14 Abstract
  • Koo SL, Wen JH, Hillmer A, Cheah PY, Tan P, Tan IB "Current and emerging surveillance strategies to expand the window of opportunity for curative treatment after surgery in colorectal cancer." Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2013 Apr ; 13(4) : 439-50 Abstract
  • Ku G*, Tan IB*, Yau T, Boku N, Laohavinij S, Cheng AL, Kang YK, de Lima Lopes G "Management of colon cancer: resource-stratified guidelines from the Asian Oncology Summit 2012." Lancet Oncol 2012 Nov ; 13(11) : e470-81 Abstract
  • Tan IB, Ivanova T, Lim KH, Ong CW, Deng N et al. "Intrinsic subtypes of gastric cancer, based on gene expression pattern, predict survival and respond differently to chemotherapy." Gastroenterology 2011 Aug ; 141(2) : 476-85, 485.e1-11 (> 70 citations) Epub 2011 Apr 28 Abstract
  • Tan IB, Cutcutache I, Zang ZJ, Iqbal J, Yap SF, Hwang W, Lim WT, Teh BT, Rozen S, Tan EH, Tan P "Fanconi\'s anemia in adulthood: chemoradiation-induced bone marrow failure and a novel FANCA mutation identified by targeted deep sequencing." J Clin Oncol 2011 Jul 10 ; 29(20) : e591-4 Epub 2011 Apr 25 Abstract