Thursday, December 27, 2007

7 science and technology projects win national awards

SINGAPORE: A possible cancer treatment drug and a technology that allows much faster broadband internet are among the seven entries that won this year's National Science and Technology Awards.

Cancer is Singapore's number one killer, so the development of a compound that tackles cancer cells is significant.

Associate Professor Uttam Surana's work on a possible cancer treatment drug has won him the National Science Award.

He said how cells divide is important because any deviation can affect the health of a cell and, in extreme cases, its ability to survive.

"We've tested a whole variety of cancer cells and a subset of them is quite sensitive to this compound. We have taken these studies to nude mice assays which you can take human cells and create tumours in nude mice. And you treat these mice with the compound and stop the growth of tumour cells," said AP Surana.

The research is at an early stage and the professor from A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology wants to overcome initial problems with the compound in two years, before any clinical trials.

The awards do not just revolve around science research and new knowledge. Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific won the National Technology Award for VDSL2 (Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line).

The company said the technology enables faster downloading of files by 10 times and uploading by 100 times.

SingTel is currently in talks with the maker and evaluating the technology.

Another recipient of the National Technology Award is a team from A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research which spent years developing a coding technology that compresses high quality music into small digital files, using what is called MPEG-4 Scaleable Lossless Coding.

Huang Haibin from A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research, said: "This new technology compresses all the information in a small file but all the information is perfectly preserved."

A*STAR aims to sell the technology within six months.

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