POLARIS (Personalized OMIC Lattice for Advanced Research and Improving Stratification) was established by A*STAR in 2013 to pilot the application of clinical genomics in the treatment and diagnosis of medical diseases in Singapore and the region. CAP-accredited laboratories for Next Generation Sequencing were established, allowing patients with better access to a new generation of clinical care based on precision medicine.
In partnership with the hospitals and local researchers, we have developed and launched tests which can provide specific actionable information to patients and doctors. For example, our eye test is able to advice if a patient contemplating corneal surgery should avoid the procedure as there could be a high risk of complications due to their genetic background. Another test is targeted at patients with certain leukemia or colon cancers, to identify if a particular type of drug would be more effective for their treatment.
The POLARIS vision is a national one, initially focused on genomics and selected paradigm diseases. We have placed special emphasis on facilitating the development of “made-in-Singapore” key discoveries from local clinicians and scientists. Our network currently includes multiple research and clinical centers, including the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SPH), NUS Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBE), Duke-NUS; and clinical partners SingHealth, Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), National Cancer Centre (NCCS), Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National University Hospital (NUH), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
We are in dialogue with the Ministry of Health and other national bodies to ensure that the deployment of these new technologies are accompanied by a robust framework for informed patient consent. We have also deployed genetic counselors at both academic medical centres. We welcome the participation of other institutes and hospitals.
POLARIS - A Game Changer On Multiple Fronts
For Scientists: Provide a platform for translating locally discovered genomic biomarkers into validated clinical-grade assays.
For Clinicians: Provide the ability to perform specific clinical grade OMIC assays for patient diagnosis and treatment stratification, including customised lab-developed tests.
For Industry: Enable collaborations with researchers and clinicians to design clinical trials and develop products stratified for Asian populations.
For Patients: Provide robust and accurate disease classification for improved clinical response rates and reduced treatment toxicities.