2023-10-10 00:27:10

On the morning of 26th September, 2023, the closing ceremony and award presentation of the 27th Ho Chi Minh City Technical Innovation Contest were held at the headquarters of the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Science and Technology Associations. The contest was organised by the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Science and Technology Associations, in coordination with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology, and the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union.

During the Competition, PhD. Nguyen Minh Nam from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine – VNU-HCM, was honored with the Consolation Prize. His research project, titled “A novel signature predicts recurrence risk and therapeutic response in breast cancer patients,” received recognition for its significant contributions to the field.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease. Though patients with the same subtype of breast cancer generally receive similar therapies, this heterogeneity results in only a subset of patients who substantively benefit from treatment. A majority of patients, ranging from 60% to 75%, cannot clearly be classified into a particular subtype on the basis of canonical features. Integrating the melatonergic signature with molecular subtypes, which could pave the way for more precise subclassification, leading to more highly personalised therapies.

Acetylserotonin O-methyltransferase (ASMT) is a pivotal enzyme in melatonin synthesis. However, the biological role of ASMT in cancer, and its prognostic potential in breast cancer has remained uncertain. For the study, the authors revealed that ASMT expression was significantly reduced in breast cancer than in healthy tissue. Patients with higher ASMT expression exhibited improved relapse-free survival outcomes, longer metastasis-free survival times, and better responses to tamoxifen treatment.

Furthermore, the authors introduced a novel ASMT gene signature that can robustly predict recurrence risk, exhibiting a sensitivity and specificity of 0.997 and 0.916, respectively. High-risk patients, distinguished by this signature, derived significant benefits from adjuvant chemotherapy. On the other hand, low-risk patients undergoing endocrine therapy witnessed remarkable improvement in both overall survival (OS) and distant relapse-free outcomes. Together, these findings more clearly elucidate the roles of ASMT, unveil promising strategies for improving the efficacy of tamoxifen treatment, and aid to identify patients who would derive maximum benefits from adjuvant or endocrine therapies.

PhD. Nguyen Minh Nam was honored with the Consolation Prize.

It is worth noting that the Health sector showcased 7 out of the total 37 solutions proposed to the Jury Council. The evaluation and scoring process were based on three key criteria: novelty and creativity, effectiveness, and applicability, using a comprehensive scoring scale. After thorough deliberation, the Organizing Committee made the decision to award 1 First prize, 3 Third prizes, and 3 Consolation prizes. These 7 winning solutions signify pioneering advancements with the potential to make a substantial impact in the Health sector.


School of Medicine – Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City