LKCMedicine has embarked on Singapore’s largest longitudinal study. Called SG100K, this landmark, comprehensive population health study of 100,000 Singaporeans will span over a few decades to identify the social, environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors associated with diseases prevalent in Singapore, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
With tremendous differences in health risks between Western and Asian populations, the SG100K study could pave the way for the development of better tools through precision medicine to predict and prevent chronic diseases among Singaporeans and other Asian populations.
In support of this endeavour, Singapore’s Minister for Health Mr Ong Ye Kung officially launched the SG100K study on 16 December 2022 and joined the Study as a SG100K participant.
In his speech, Minister Ong emphasised the study will give scientists a deep understanding in an Asian context, of the interactions between nature and nurture, and turbocharge the development of precision medicine.
Touching on the significance of the SG100K study for healthcare, Minister Ong said, “From time to time, we hear about a medical moon shot – a major breakthrough like curing cancer, that is as significant as sending a person to the moon. Indeed we are on the cusp of witnessing the medical moon shot, because of precision medicine."
Minister Ong added, “Human beings are always determined to march forward, venture into the unknown, to embrace scientific advancement for the benefit of our present and future generations. Each society and country will do its part. SG100K represents such a step forward, to help us learn more, improve and seek answers, in Singapore”
The launch at the Ong Tiong Tat and Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium in Novena campus drew more than 200 researchers, clinician-scientists and healthcare professionals. During this event, the audience learnt more about how SG100K and Precision Medicine is going to contribute to research, healthcare innovation and enterprise in Singapore.
Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of the Governing Board of NTU’s LKCMedicine, said: “LKCMedicine is coordinating the national multi-institutional SG100K study that seeks to provide fresh insights into mechanisms influencing health. This is aligned with the School’s Population and Global Health flagship programme where we conduct large-scale population-based studies to guide disease-centric research. These findings will be harnessed to better deliver preventive care and health promotion in line with the goals of Healthier SG.”
Professor Joseph Sung, NTU’s Senior Vice President (Health and Life Sciences) and Dean of LKCMedicine said: “As a medical school that drives transformative research, LKCMedicine aims to tackle health challenges of national and global importance. In line with these efforts, the SG100K study will serve as a powerful resource in understanding why certain diseases are more common in different ethnic groups among the local population. Through this study and in collaboration with our partners and researchers, I am confident we will be able to build a more cost-effective healthcare system for Singapore.”
SG100K will draw on data from 70,000 participants across all ethnic groups enrolled in four existing cohort studies by NTU LKCMedicine, the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, the Singapore Eye Research Institute and Singapore National Eye Centre, and the National Heart Centre Singapore. The remaining 30,000 participants will be recruited progressively over the next two years.
NTU LKCMedicine’s Professor John Chambers, Lead Investigator of SG100K explained: “Establishing SG100K will be an important milestone for population health and precision medicine research in Singapore. SG100K will enable researchers from our partner organisations to better understand the primary risk factors for chronic conditions of high importance to Asian populations. This will lead to insights to better predict and prevent chronic disease, and to maintain quality of life among ageing Singaporeans.”
Over the course of the study, SG100K participants will be monitored for their long-term health outcomes through a combination of approaches, including electronic medical records, disease registries and invitations for further follow-up.
Information that will be collected for the study include the measurement of waist-hip circumference, blood pressure, physical fitness, lung function, body composition, skeletal health, cardiovascular health, cognitive performance, as well as glucose and cholesterol levels.
Key biological samples such as blood, urine, and skin tapes will also be collected. SG100K will work with Precision Health Research, Singapore (PRECISE), the national entity established to co-ordinate Singapore’s National Precision Medicine strategy, to analyse blood samples to assess genomic and other relevant molecular variation in the population.
All Singaporeans or Permanent Residents of all ethnicities, aged 30 to 84 years old, including people with pre-existing conditions are welcome to be part of the study. Participants will be offered a detailed health report at no charge, which they can use for discussion with their doctors.
For more information on signing up as a participant and details of the health screening, please visit www.ntu.edu.sg/helios.
 The four existing cohort studies are: the Health for Life in Singapore population health study by NTU LKCMedicine; the Singapore Population Health Study by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health; the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases (SEED) by the Singapore Eye Research Institute and the Singapore National Eye Centre; and SingHEART, a key cardiovascular research programme at the National Heart Centre Singapore.
 In skin tape tests, a strip of adhesive tape is pressed onto the skin and subsequently removed to collect biomaterial from the skin surface.