It is estimated that one in four Malaysians will suffer from cancer by the age of 75 years. This number is expected to climb again, due to a longer lifespan. If left unchecked, cancer would continue to affect the patient as well as the people around them, causing physical and emotional pain. To reduce the medical and social implications of cancer, it is imperative for Malaysia to continue energising the field of cancer research.
An ongoing initiative by Majlis Kanser Nasional (MAKNA) is the MAKNA Cancer Research Award. Initiated in 2001, the award serves as a catalyst to spur cancer research in Malaysia by recognising Malaysian young scientists' research and development in discovering potential curative treatments for cancer.
MAKNA alongside Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) as the appointed Selection Committee selects up to three recipients every year with a collective grant worth RM 90,000 to advance their cancer research endeavours. The stringent and impartial selection process is helmed by ASM Fellow, Professor Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Mohd Yusoff FASc, alongside other prominent ASM Fellows from the field of health and medicine. The 2016 MAKNA Cancer Research Award has been presented to three deserving Malaysian young scientists: Dr Oon Chern Ein (Universiti Sains Malaysia), Dr Teow Sin Yeang (Sunway University) and Dr Asrul Akmal Bin Shafie (Universiti Sains Malaysia) with the hopes that they will be able to continue their pursuit in finding a successful treatment for cancer.
Every year, a sizeable amount of application for this award from hopeful young scientists will be received by MAKNA. This is a promising sign that the pursuit of successful cancer treatment is alive and well in Malaysia, and every day this will bring us closer to achieving the goal. As one of the main bodies committed to cancer research, MAKNA hopes to support and encourage Malaysian young scientists and to improve the nation’s fighting chance against cancer.
ASM by virtue of being an independent and august STI body that is made up of eminent scientists in the country is often called upon to carry out evaluations for prominent Malaysian and international STI awards. Therefore, in a similar capacity, ASM has been working closely with MAKNA in selecting the recipients for the MAKNA Cancer Research Award since 2002.
MAKNA has been keeping the torch alight for those on cancer battle for two decades now. Throughout this time, the organisation has undergone various transformations and achieved significant milestones by placing cancer central in its focus. MAKNA’s mission is to mobilise all resources to provide curative, preventive, research and support services to cancer patients and families, high-risk groups and the general public.
Recipients of 2016 MAKNA Cancer Research Award, Dr Teow Sin Yeang (left), Dr Oon Chern Ein (second from left), and Dr Asrul Akmal Bin Shafie (second from right). Also in photo: Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak FASc and Academician Tan Sri M. Jegathesan FASc.