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Research Focus & Division Overview

Cancer remains a major cause of mortality today, despite advances in diagnostic imaging technology, modern surgical and therapeutic modalities. Currently, it is estimated that cancer kills over 6 million people per year worldwide, with over 10 million new cases being diagnosed every year. Mortality is mainly attributed to dissemination of primary cancer to distant organs, for which no effective treatment is available.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common cancers in the world which accounts for an estimated 600,000 deaths annually. Although much is known about both the cellular changes that lead to HCC and the etiological agents responsible for the majority of HCC (i.e. hepatitis B virus (HBV) or/and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, alcohol and aflatoxin), the molecular pathogenesis of HCC is still not well understood.

HCC remains one of the major cancers to be studied at the MRIN.

Possible Impact of Research Strategies

It is hoped that results from these investigations may contribute to the identification of suitable molecular markers, to the development of effective screening methods, to the improvement of conventional treatment and to the feasibility of advanced therapy for cancer.

Five core divisions within MRIN

  • The Molecular Epidemiology Divisionwhose purpose is to study the association of genetic variations of virus, the mutation of oncogenes or the tumor suppression genes and cancer development - towards preventing the progress of carcinogenesis.
  • The Proteomic Division applies proteomic-based technology and cell biological methods to investigate the potential of certain established drugs to be explored as alternative cancer treatment as well as for chemoprevention in vitro using cell culture models
  • The SNP Division wishes to develop a genetic screen for cancer predisposition that can be utilized as an early diagnostic tool and provide an effective method of improving the outcome of cancer treatment by associating Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes that are linked with cancer progression.
  • The Immunology Divisionseeks to understand the nature of tumor antigens including their optimal presentation and the regulatory mechanisms that govern the immune system. The purpose is to develop innovative immunotherapy intervention strategies for the treatment of cancer.
  • The Genomic Divisionsupports the other divisions, in respect to any gene of interest, by isolating defined DNA sequences, obtaining multiple copies of it in vivo, so that the sequence may be expressed in a particular host system. In collaboration with Klinik Hati Prof. Ali Sulaiman (KHPA) we also conduct studies on drug resistance mutations to predict liver disease progression associated with hepatitis B virus (HBV), based on virus genome sequences.
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