Working as a checker in a film theater for 20 years, Nanay Lourdes Tadeo spent most of her work days setting up film reels, using heavy equipment and walking around the theater. Two decades later, the physical demands of the work had taken a toll on the health of the 70-year-old Nanay Lourdes. She developed degenerative osteoarthritis which greatly interfere with her daily activities and recreation. The burden of osteoarthritis has not only affected her physical activities but also her relationship with loved ones.
 
As of the moment, there is no treatment to reverse the effects of osteoarthritis. These days even pain-killers do not work as they used to in the case of Nanay Lourdes. As much as she wants to spend time and bond with her grandchildren, it is impossible because even walking becomes a struggle. With a cane to support her aching knees, Nanay Lourdes visited a joint surgeon who recommended her to undergo a total knee replacement procedure using the Axis Knee System.
 
In the Philippines, on top of the surgery expenses and post-surgery therapy required for recovery, knee replacement implants come at a hefty price from ₱100,000 to ₱120,000. According to Dr. Ilustre Guloy, Jr., orthopaedic surgeon at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, the implant cost is the biggest burden to patients which oftentimes becomes the reason to postpone or decline the surgery.
 
Thanks to Dr. Ramon Gustillo, along with other Filipino scientists, who created the Axis Knee Total Knee Replacement System, people with bad knees like Nanay Lourdes can now get knee surgery at an affordable price of Php60,000 to Php70,000. Aside from the lower cost, it also guarantees faster recovery period since the device is tailor-fit for the Asian knee size. With this available alternative, Nanay Lourdes looked forward to gaining her life back. “Sa operasyon na gagawin nyo sa akin, magagamot na ang tuhod ko at makakalakad na ako ng maayos.” she told Dr. Guloy during her pre-surgery consultation.
 
Nanay Lourdes’ operation was successful with the help of Dr. Guloy, Dr. Carlo Belen, and Dr. Sam Grozman, who performed the surgery at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa.  A day after the operation, Nanay Lourdes started physical therapy to speed up the recovery of her knees. She shared she wanted to go strolling at the mall once her knee is healed. “Matutuwa sila, syempre ipapasyal ko sila... ngayon masasabayan ko na sila ng paglalakad,” she said referring to her three grandchildren whom she would usually trail behind when strolling. Finally, with Axis Knee, Nanay Lourdes can spend quality time, pain-free, with her apos. 
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The UAE FoodTech Challenge is a global competition which aims to find sustainable, technology-driven, and commercially viable solutions to address challenges on food security. University students and early-stage start-ups are invited to apply either individually or in teams of up to four persons.

REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Detailed business case study
  2. 1-minute pitch video for the UAE agriculture sector

Submit your entries to: https://foodtechchallenge.awardsplatform.com/

Four winners will be awarded $100,000 cash prize and $150,000 in-kind support via Catalyst, an Abu Dhabi-based accelerator programme.

For registration and further information, interested parties can visit https://foodtechchallenge.com/. The deadline for registration is on 13 February 2020. 

Reposted from Businessmirror.com
Written by Lyn Resurreccion

THE first anti-dengue medicine in the world may be available by end of next year. And, also significant, it is made by Filipino researchers in the Philippines.

Dr. Rita Grace Y. Alvero, program leader of the dengue herbal clinical trial from Pharmalytics Corp., told the “Talakayang HeaRTbeat” on Monday that the researchers from Pharmalytics and De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute have concluded Phase 1 of the clinical trial for the drug against dengue that they got from three plant components. They are hopeful that it will be approved for marketing by the end of 2020.

“We have completed the preclinical testing. We have completed the safety analysis in animals. We are now in the human testing. We have just concluded the Phase 1 clinical trial. [Based on] our findings, there was no dose-limiting toxicity,” Alvero said, partly in Filipino.

She explained that the last cohort, or people who took the medicine, took 106 capsules of 400 mg of its three plant components and no toxicity was observed.

“We will probably start Phase 2 and Phase 3 by the first quarter of next year. We will end by the third quarter. [Then] we will apply for marketing authorization. Hopefully, by the end of 2020, the anti-dengue drug may be out [in the market],” Alvero explained in citing the details of the process of making the drug.

Her announcement was met with a round of applause from Department of Science and Technology (DOST) officials, including Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara and Director Dr. Jaime Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), and experts Dr. Gisela Concepcion of University of the Philippines-Diliman, Dr. Irene Villaseñor of UP Diliman and Dr. Renato Reyes of Central Luzon State University, who were present during the forum.

She clarified that it will not be a herbal supplement.

“It is a drug. That means it has a scientific basis to back up the efficacy of the anti-dengue drug,” Alvero explained.

De la Peña quipped: “That will be her [Alvero’s] Christmas gift [to us] next year.”

Montoya said he is “very excited” with the developments in making the anti-dengue drug.

“It is the very first in its class. No country, even the US, has an anti-dengue drug produced. We are looking forward to this,” he said.

The dengue drug project by Alvero started in 2012, for a processing period of eight years.

The dengue research was part of the DOST’s Tuklas Lunas program to produce reliable and affordable medicines sourced from the country’s rich biodiversity.

De la Peña said Tuklas Lunas has 28 centers all over the country and 28 research-implementing institutions. A total of P1.5 billion was invested in the program since it started in 2011.

Besides the anti-dengue drug being developed by Pharmalytics and De La Salle, a herbal supplement against dengue was developed by Herbanext Laboratories.

Herbanext’s herbal supplement from tawa-tawa, under the Daily Apple brand name, was released in August at the height of the dengue epidemic in the country.

Guevara said, “As we continue our path [on] the future of medicine development, DOST wishes to honor our Filipino knowledge and traditions in healing combined with the modern discoveries of research and development. This knowledge is a gift from our ancestors. As such, it will be a guide to learn from past mistakes, open new doors to discovery and provide us with courage to face the future. In this we hope for a tomorrow that will enable our countrymen to have cheap, safe, effective and easily accessible medicines.”

For his part, Montoya said, “We are very optimistic that this will happen. We have the best scientists, we have a rich biodiversity, which is the source of these natural medicines, and we have the support of the government, the Council and the department [DOST]. We have the best pool of scientists, of experts.”

He added: “We are very hopeful and optimistic that in the next few years, we are coming up with the very promising, very effective, affordable and safe drugs that will address the leading causes of morbidity and mortality [in the country].”

Image Credits: Lyn Resurreccion

The PEER program provides an extraordinary opportunity to promote research cooperation between the Philippines and researchers funded by or based at nine US federal science agencies including: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Smithsonion Institution, US Forest Service (USFS), Agriculture Research Service (ARS), and US Geological Survey (USGS).

 

The PEER program is designed to support research projects in USAID countries which address local and global development challenges.

The PEER Cycle 9 Funding Opportunities for Philippine researchers include:

  • Any development-related research
  • Family Planning and Reproductive Health
  • Social, Economic, and Behavioral Sciences

The application deadline to submit a brief pre-proposal to the PEER program is on February 10, 2020. For additional info, applicants are encouraged to consult nas.edu/peer.

 

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health and Development (DOST-PCHRD), in partnership with University of Trieste (UNITS) and Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF), send two scholars to Italy for a PhD program focused on molecular hepatology within the PhD Program in Molecular Biomedicine of UNITS.

Two Filipino students were selected to do their PhD studies at UNITS and work with FIF. The candidates, Noel C. Salvoza, MSc, MD and Loraine Kay D. Cabral, MSc are the first two scholars to be awarded the PhD fellowship program.

Dr. Noel C. Salvoza is a Doctor of Medicine from West Visayas State University. He also holds a Master's Degree in Molecular Medicine from St. Luke's Medical Center - College of Medicine. Both of his degrees were acquired through scholarship grants from West Visayas State University and DOST's Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRD), respectively. He has worked on several researches on natural products, dengue virus, chikungunya virus, and liver disease. He presented some of his research works in both local and international conferences and has garnered recognition in several of them.

Ms. Loraine Kay D. Cabral is an awardee of the ASTHRD scholarship for her Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine degree from St. Luke's Medical Center-College of Medicine. Her works involved biobanking cytogenetics, genetics, and epigenetics of cancer. She made presentations in local and international conferences and has joined international programs for training and internship. She has been an officer and active member of different scientific organizations in the country.

The two scholars have started their three-year PhD program in November 2019. After finishing their PhD program, both are expected to contribute to discovery of biomarkers and diagnostic tools for liver diseases and related metabolic syndromes in the Philippines.  They are also expected to be the prime movers of the soon to be established Philippine Liver Network.  

For more information on DOST-PCHRD scholarship offerings, you may visit: http://pchrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/programs-and-services/grant-services.