Home > About Us > Corporate Profile > NUHS Leadership Awards > The Winners > 2015 Winners > Adjunct Associate Professor Goh Boon Cher


Head and Senior Consultant
Department of Haematology-Oncology
National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

Deputy Director
Cancer Science Institute of Singapore
National University of Singapore

Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University of Singapore

Adjunct Associate Professor Goh Boon Cher graduated from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 1989 and joined the internal medicine traineeship where he was awarded the Seah Cheng Siang Gold medal in the Masters examination.

One of the first recruits of the department of medical oncology which was then headed by Professor John Eu-Li Wong, Adjunct Assoc Prof Goh developed an interest in clinical trial methods and clinical pharmacology early in his career. He was awarded a National Medical Research Council (NMRC) overseas research fellowship in 1997 to study clinical pharmacology and Phase I experimental therapeutics at the University of Chicago, where he was supervised by Professor Mark J Ratain, a highly-regarded clinical pharmacologist, medical oncologist and expert in Phase I trials. During this tenure, he was involved in several Phase I clinical trials and was inspired to examine the effect of ethnogeographical factors on cancer drug pharmacology.

Adjunct Assoc Prof Goh returned to the National University Hospital (NUH) to help establish the clinical trial arm of the Department of Hematology-Oncology as its research director. It is now a recognised research group called the Haematology Oncology Research Group, and is actively conducting more than 70 clinical trials, which include some first-in-world studies of novel agents for the treatment of cancer.

Adjunct Assoc Prof Goh is now one of the few key investigators for Phase I cancer drug development in Asia, having conducted first–in-human studies of compounds including linifanib (Abbott), SB939 - the first cancer drug developed wholly in Singapore - and OPB51602 (Otsuka). In recognition of his expertise, he has been called upon as a consultant for experimental and novel pipeline advisory boards of major pharmaceutical companies, thus giving him insight into the latest and most promising agents that are being investigated for cancer treatment. He was also invited to present oral abstracts of the latest drugs in development at several American Society of Clinical Oncology meetings. Currently, he is Deputy Director and a principal investigator at the Cancer Science Institute, Singapore, where he has a laboratory that has expertise in drug analysis and pharmacokinetics, and is able to screen promising drugs and combinations for cancer treatment.

With a research interest in pharmacogenetics, Adjunct Assoc Prof Goh has contributed notably in defining ethnic differences in pharmacology of several commonly-used drugs with narrow therapeutic windows over the years. One prominent example is the commonly-used anticoagulant, warfarin, where he and his team were one of the first in the world to report the importance of two genes (CYP2C9 and VKORC1) in explaining ethnic differences in warfarin requirement and developing a predictive dosing algorithm based on genetics specific to the local population. This resulted in a randomised study comparing the usual clinical titration against this dosing algorithm. In total, he has managed over 120 publications in internationally recognised journals.

In recognition of his global standing in research, Adjunct Assoc Prof Goh has been invited to serve on the editorial boards of several journals, including Journal of Clinical Oncology and Annals of Oncology, as well as on external expert review panels by the Institutional Review Boards of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Hong Kong for several Phase I protocols. He has also been invited to chair and speak at a session at the Annual  American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in 2009 and was also invited to give a lecture at the inaugural AACR-organised “New Horizons in Cancer Research” meeting in Shanghai in 2014. As a clinician scientist, he has served on the boards of the Biomedical Research Council (BMRC), NMRC, and is also on the Board of Directors of the Singapore Clinical Research Institute. He has been an NMRC/BMRC Senior Clinician Scientist since 2005, and has headed the NUHS Investigational Medicine Unit since 2008.

For his outstanding contributions and achievements in cancer research, Adjunct Associate Professor Goh Boon Cher is awarded the Translational Research Innovator Award.