Oral Cancer Research & Coordinating Centre (OCRCC)

Summary and principal aims
Oral cancer is a debilitating disease as it affects aesthetic and functionality of an important facial feature, which is the mouth. Oral cancer is one form of malignancy that is very easily detected through an oral examination. While it is not among the top ten cancers, it is prevalent especially among ethnic Indians where the incidence ranked within the top ten cancers in Malaysia. Most oral cancer patients present at very late stages making ideal management impossible and thus leading to 5 years survival of less than 50% with those surviving having a poor quality of life. With the current limited knowledge on oral cancer and its risk factors, intervention programs are only limited to those with supposedly high risks. However, there are other factors, which has been associated with oral cancer such as the physical environment, genetic make-up and lifestyle that need to be further studied so that the information derived can equip health professionals to effectively and efficiently manage equitable intervention program aimed at reducing the incidence of oral cancer.

Realizing its chronic effect on an individual’s life and the lack of concerted efforts on oral cancer research in Malaysia, a team of researchers from various disciplines decided to set up a center focusing on multidiscipline research of oral cancer. Established since August 2005, Oral Cancer Research & Coordinating Center, University of Malaya (OCRCC-UM) has built upon collaborative research efforts with various organizations and institutions involved with oral cancer care throughout the country such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) and other public universities such as Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

Vision
To be an internationally renowned research centre in oral cancer through data and tissue sharing for research such that there is successful translation of basic research into clinical practice leading to excellence in innovation, publication and teaching

Mission
To advance knowledge and learning in oral cancer through quality research and education for the nation and for humanity

Niche area
Early detection of oral cancer

Objectives

  1. Carry out research in all areas of oral cancer
  2. Coordinate research activities on oral cancer in Malaysia to avoid research overlaps
  3. Create of a conducive environment through the sharing of data and specimen to achieve research excellence and innovation
  4. Be a resource centre for oral cancer
  5. Conduct training in clinical expertise and research
  6. Establish networking with institutions locally and internationally to further accelerate research in oral cancer
  7. Disseminate information and create awareness of oral cancer to the Malaysian public

Areas of research
Since 2005, OCRCC together with our collaborators have embarked on various area of oral cancer research. These include epidemiology, molecular biology (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics), potential diagnostic tools, cancer modelling and prediction, novel therapeutics/drug discoveries and impact of the disease on quality of life. Our strength lies in our multidisciplinary expertise where members consist of surgeons, pathologists, oncologists, public health epidemiologists and scientists.

Key achievements
Since our establishment, we had succeeded in developing a biobanking system called the Malaysian Oral Cancer Database and Tissue Bank System (MOCDTBS). In this system, data and biological specimens from oral cancer patients, as well as healthy controls are collected, processed and stored in a standardized manner to serve current and future research in oral cancer. The availability of this data and specimen from this biobank has benefitted postgraduate students, and has encouraged research collaborations at national and international level.

Apart from carrying out research projects, OCRCC is also committed to disseminate awareness on oral cancer among the public. The Mouth Cancer Awareness Week (MCAW) is an annual event carried out by the centre with the aim to increase public awareness on oral cancer. As oral cancer is a preventable disease that usually occurs in visible areas of the oral cavity and is influenced by certain social habits, it is important to educate the public on early signs and risk factors of oral cancer. Various activities were carried out throughout the week such as free dental screening, poster exhibition, video presentation and exposure on mass media. Besides that, a walkathon is also held as part of the awareness week programme.

Oral cancer destroys the simple daily things that we take for granted in our everyday life, such as our ability to chew, swallow, speak clearly and having an acceptable facial appearance which more often than not, results in fear and uncertainly. The suffering experienced by cancer patients involves a loss of personhood, threats to identity; threats to the person’s future; threats to self-image; a perceived lack of coping options, a sense of personal loss and a lack of basis for hope. With the hope of providing supportive cares and wellness activities for survivors and their families/caregivers to help them cope better with their impairment and impact of their disease, OCRCC recently has started a Patient Support Care (PSC) program at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, which aims to provide a holistic support for oral cancer survivors and their carers throughout their journey with cancer to improve their quality of life.

OCRCC – CORE MEMBERS & AFFILIATE MEMBERS – 2018

No Core Members Affiliate Members
1 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jennifer Doss,
Department of Community Oral Health & Clinical Prevention, Faculty of Dentistry
Prof. Dato’ Dr. Zainal Ariff Abdul Rahman,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
2 Prof. Dr.  Rosnah Mohd Zain,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
Assoc. Prof. Dr. V Rathna Devi,
Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry
3 Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ishak Bin Abdul Razak,
Department of Community Oral Health & Clinical Prevention, Faculty of Dentistry
Dr. Maryani Mohamed Rohani,
Department of Peaediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry
4 Prof. Dr. Ian Paterson,Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry Dr. Marhazlinda Jamaludin, Department of Community Oral Health & clinical Prevention, Faculty of Dentistry
5 Dr. Yap Lee Fah,
Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
Dr Anand Ramanathan,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
6 Dr. Siti Mazlipah Ismail,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
Dr. Kathreena Kadir,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
7 Prof. Madya Dr. Thomas George,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
Dr. Cheong Sok Ching,
Cancer Research Malaysia
8 Dr. Zuraiza Binti Mohamad Zaini,

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry

Dr. Khor Goot Heah,
Faculty of Dentistry
Universiti Teknologi MARA
9 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chen Yeng, Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
10

Dr. Siti Amalina Binti Inche Zainal Abidin
Deans Office
Faculty of Dentistry,
University of Malaya

 

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