The Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp) is a pioneering annual biotechnology seminar for entrepreneurial, postgraduate students in science or business who are interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology.

Themed "Cultivating health innovations for sustainable countrywide development", the Local BioCamp will be held on July 15, 2016 at the SGV Hall, Asian Institute of Management, Makati City. At the end of the Local BioCamp, two students will be selected based on academic excellence and professional focus to represent the Philippines in the International BioCamp, which will be held from August 28 to August 31, 2016 at the Novartis Campus in Basel, Switzerland. In the Philippines, Novartis works with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Council for Health Research and Development Department of Science and Technology in organizing the Local BioCamp.

To register for the Local and International BioCamp, visit and download the PDF application form. After completing the application form, save and e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Deadline for application to the International BioCamp is 5:00 PM, July 05, 2016. Only complete applications will be considered. Selected students will be informed via e-mail.

For more information about the 2016 Novartis BioCamp, please visit or You may also call Mr. J. Cecil Barrameda at (0917) 325-9549 or Mr. Renz Carlos B. So at (02) 837 7537.

Wonder plant Moringa oleifera, also known as Malunggay, adds colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in the world, in the list of diseases it can prevent.

In a study presented by Ms. Marietta Rodriguez of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute – Department of Science and Technology, Malunggay Leaf Powder (MLP) was introduced into the diet of two groups of cancer-induced male and female Sprague Dawley rats. This is to determine its effect on the growth of colorectal tumors in the rats. The results were compared to other groups of Sprague Dawley rats that received basal diet without MLP.  

After 11 months of laboratory research, it was observed that mutation in the K-ras oncogene, a protein product in mammals that is essential in cell division, was slower in rats with diet consisted of MLP. Mutation of the said oncogene leads to the development of many types of cancer. The study also showed evidence on how MLP intake may prevent, delay, or reverse colorectal cancer, among others.   

The study was presented during the APEC Workshop on Strategies to Address Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) through Science, Technology, and Innovation: A Nutrigenomics Approach held on 15-16 June 2016 at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City. 

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LOS BAÑOS, Laguna- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), will provide additional 1000 RxBox telehealth devices in the country.

The roll out was launched during the Science Nation Tour on 9 June 2016 at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development  (PCAARRD) EO Tan Hall.

Field tested already in 143 municipalities nationwide, the RxBox is a telehealth device allowing consultations even from geographically isolated and depressed areas of the country.

Ceremonial switch on of RxBox

Ang RxBox po ay isang paraan para ang mga komunidad na malayo sa ospital ay mapagsilbihan ng mataas na kalidad ng serbisyong pangkalusugan…Ito po ay pinagsamang galing ng medisina at ng engineering,” PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya explained.

After the ceremonial switch on of the new RxBox model, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo shared how excited they were on looking at the previous versions of RxBox as these were the ones demonstrated to President Noynoy Aquino. “Ang maganda sa RxBox, it was developed by local engineers and manufactured by local manufacturers,” Sec. Montejo emphasized.

Department of Health (DOH) Bureau of Local Health Systems Development Director Enrique Tayag added that the DOH also monitored the progress of the technology as there are still many people in the country who cannot avail health services. “Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa mga nagpasimuno nito dahil nawalan kami ng isang balakid para maatim ang Kalusugang Pangkalahatan,” he said.

Dr. Montoya, Sec. Montejo, and Dr. Tayag, with University of Philippines (UP) Manila Vice Chancellor for Research and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Executive Director Eva Maria Cutiongco-Dela Paz, also participated in the commitment signing of RxBox on “working together to provide better access to life saving healthcare services to every Juan.” 

On her closing remarks, Dr. Dela Paz shared that the RxBox has three important ingredients:  identified need, partnerships among experts, and commitment to serve every Filipino.

We witnessed today the roll out of thousands of telehealth devices. This was possible because the need for better access to healthcare services was identified, the different disciplines of engineering, medicine, and ICT all worked together, and there was a commitment to serve every Juan,”  Dr. Dela Paz ended.

The Science Nation Tour is a nationwide strategy of DOST to promote technological advancement to the Filipino community. Aside from the launching ceremony and commitment board signing, demonstration of RxBox and introduction of its new features were also held.


TAGAYTAY CITY, Cavite- The Philippines, through the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), hosted the “APEC Workshop on Strategies to Address Non-communicable Diseases through Science, Technology and Innovation: Nutrigenomics Approach” on 15-16 June 2016 at Taal Vista Hotel.

The workshop is part of the commitment of DOST and FNRI for the Policy Partnership in Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI) Forum of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).


APEC workshop to address non-communicable diseases

According to Dr. Mario Capanzana, FNRI Director and APEC Workshop Committee Chair, the workshop served as platform for participants from APEC countries to discuss the current situation, challenges, and advancements in Nutritional Genomics to address the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the APEC region.

It also entails substantive sessions and group discussions, providing the participants the opportunity to focus on specific areas from their own perspectives and national experiences in Nutrigenomics,” Dr. Capanzana said.

The two-day workshop consisted sessions on “Prevalence, Programs, Strategies to Address NCDs in APEC Economies,” “Nutrigenomics as a Science,” “Genomic Centers in Support of Health and Nutrition Research,” and “Nutrigenomics Research in the APEC Region.” Topics such as “Challenges and Opportunities in Nutrigenomics Research in the Asia-Pacific,” “Social, Economic and Human Health Dimensions of Nutrigenomics,” and “Perspectives Towards Nutrigenomics-based Initiatives,” were also discussed.

Representatives from APEC economies namely, Philippines, Russian Federation, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, United States of America (USA), Vietnam, and guest economy Switzerland, participated in the event.

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo emphasized the timeliness of the workshop as the search for knowledge regarding healthy and adequate food has increased in the last decades. He explained that Nutrigenomics was created to assess the interaction between genes and nutrients.

The field of genomics is one of the major R&D agenda of the DOST…The discovery of this interaction will aid the prescription of customized diet according to each individuals’ genotype, thus it will be possible to mitigate symptoms of existing diseases or  to prevent future illness especially in the area of non-communicable diseases,” Sec Montojo said. Aside from formation of collaborative research network, the main output of the workshop is the presentation of APEC Nutrigenomics 2016 Declaration.

Nutrigenomics will be featured during the 2016 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) Metro Manila Science Community, to be led by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). ■

PASAY CITY, Metro Manila – In the recently concluded 5th eHealth Summit led by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Dr. Peter San Diego, Jr., a cardiologist from the Philippine Heart Center, talks about the implications of health data research and how the issue of privacy apply to data analytics.

Health Data Analytics is the method of processing extensive health data (e.g. medical records, social demographics, etc.) into information vital in explaining or predicting the health state in a certain area. In his talk, Dr. San Diego highlighted that through processing big data, policymakers will have readily-available health information to help in health decision-making. This research method is also considered to be efficient as it only requires a computing software that will process the available data.

Dr. San Diego also mentioned about the Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPnet), an online health policy databank run by the World Health Organization (WHO) which uses research evidence as bases of health policies, some of which obtained through big data processing. While there still is no database for research-based policies in the Philippines, the Department of Health has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology in developing the Philippine Health Information Exchange as a start. Once live, it will serve as nationwide platform for storing and sharing data that across government information systems. 

However, big data processing has its challenges. Processing a vast amount of data could lead to inevitable inconsistencies and redundancies in the system.  Data privacy, however, was emphasized as an issue largely linked to health data analytics. Dr. San Diego highlighted the importance of consent in getting data, particularly personal information. Personal health data can only be given without consent when it is in the case of national emergencies and if the indexed person cannot give his consent, as in the state of coma, among others.

During the open forum Dr. Jacinto Blas V. Mantaring of the UP Manila Research Ethics Board reiterated on the importance of informed consent, especially if it also concerns not only the individual’s information but also that of his family. “It is the responsibility of the researcher to make the participant aware of such a condition so that the participant can discuss this with his family,” he stated.

There is an ongoing online discussion on the rules of privacy in health research. Prof. Peter A. Sy, Bioethics expert of the University of Philippines – Diliman, invited everyone to participate and give their thoughts, especially on unconventional ways of obtaining personal information (e.g. social media, raffle entries, social experiments, etc.).

The 5th eHealth Summit with the theme “eHealth Philippines: Big Data, Big on Privacy” was held last 3 June 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Pasay City.