27 MAY 2019 – Balik Scientist Dr. Christian T. Gloria pays courtesy visit to Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Dr. Gloria as an expert in public health and health education is currently hosted by Angeles University Foundation (AUF) in Pampanga.

Hailing from the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, he majored in Science for Health Promotion and Fitness. He also pursued his master’s degree for Health Education, and doctorate degree for health behavior and health education at the same university. As a student in UT, he also worked as a teaching and research assistant, then moved to Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) to pursue professorship. His pro bono works include leadership works for Bright Smiles Hawaii (BSH) and the Hawaii Public Association (HPHA).

Dr. Gloria will work in collaboration with PCHRD as a consultant on the current CHED-Discovery-Applied-Research specifically for mental health under the Balik Scientist Program (BSP). In line with his expertise on mental health, he prefers to focus on positive emotions and coping methods – which can potentially increase one’s resilience against stress. His expertise will greatly contribute to the development and implementation of programs that can further promote understanding on mental health in the country.

The DOST’s BSP aims to encourage Filipino scientists or experts who work abroad to come back to the Philippines and share their expertise here for the scientific, agro-industrial and economic progress of the country.

References:

Following the visit of the Philippine delegation to Iran, several opportunities were explored in the area of research and innovations. The visit presented the growth and the development of Iran in producing not only local technological innovations but local brands of high technology products as well.

It is envisioned to be beneficial if the Philippines, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), leverages on the existing MOU with Iran to learn from their experience on how to fast track the development of local R&D capabilities resulting to an accelerated technology transfer, specifically in the field of nanotechnology and biomedical research. Biomedical Engineering is now one of the fastest growing fields in Iran wherein they have developed breakthrough innovations in the field of prosthetics, robotic devices, and medical devices to cure sleep apnea. Moreover, pre-clinical studies for drug discovery research are among important aspects in translating the safety and efficacy of potential therapeutics prior to being administered to subjects in clinical trials, this is also part of the forum agenda. Aligned with the priority areas identified by the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), DOST ensures recognition to the innovations which will be presented in the forum.   

Experts coming from Iran will conduct a series of activities in the Philippines, with a focus on enhancing the nanotechnology and biomedical research capacity in the country. There will be a forum on biomedical devices and drug discovery research to discuss the latest innovations from Iran and identify possible collaboration between the research community of Iran and the Philippines. The forum will be attended by local and international partners of DOST. 

The forum will provide a venue for information exchange and collaboration between the research community of Iran, the Philippines, and other countries.

The Philippine-American Academy of Science & Engineering (PAASE) is a non-profit organization composed of scientists and engineers of Philippine descent who have distinguished themselves in scholarly and research related activities. 

PAASE aims to promote the advancement of science, engineering & technology; encourage collaborative work among scientists & engineers of Philippine descent in research and development through scholarly and scientific endeavors; support efforts that advance science & technology; and recognize and honor the achievements of scientists and engineers of Philippine descent.

With the theme "Building a Robust Ecosystem for the Advancement of Science and Technology", the 2019 Annual PAASE Meeting and Symposium, funded by PCHRD, aims to transcend to greater heights through building the necessary infrastructure to sustain innovation which will include building the human capital, education, industry and government.





Interested participants may contact Dr. Kathleen Aviso at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit paasephilippines.wixsite.com/apams

Walk-in registration fee:
Special discount for PCHRD invitee: PhP 5,000.00
Normal fee: PhP 7,500.00

For more information, visit paasephilippines.wixsite.com/apams.



Did you know that all women, regardless of age, race, and lifestyle, are at risk of cervical cancer? But did you also know that it is highly preventable and curable?

What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus transmitted through sexual activities. The probability of a woman acquiring the virus in her lifetime is at 75-80%; however, the virus does not always develop into cancer. Smoking, having multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, long-term use of oral contraception, a weak immune system, and the history of cervical cancer within the family increase the risk of the virus developing into cancer.

The symptoms of the disease in its late stages include vaginal bleeding beyond the menstruation period, unpleasant vaginal discharge, and abdominal pain or swelling.

How do I prevent cervical cancer?

Despite being one of the most preventable and curable types of cancer, the Philippines loses about 3,800 women to cervical cancer yearly. The key to cervical cancer prevention is early detection. It was only in 2003 when the campaign for cervical cancer awareness and prevention was strengthened. Through Proclamation no. 368, May was declared the official cervical cancer awareness month. The campaign eventually carried the slogan “Babae, Mahalaga ka,” which encouraged Filipinas to get checked regularly through free cervical cancer screenings. When detected in its early stage, cervical cancer is still curable.

Several methods can be used for screenings such as the VIA (visual inspection using acetic acid) and pap smear. According to a study by the University of the Philippines- Department of Health Cervical Cancer Screening Health Operations Research Project, the VIA was found to be the most effective and cost-effective screening method. For preventative measures, HPV vaccines are available and may be given to patients as young as 9 years old. The effect of the vaccine lasts a lifetime and has been proven to be safe for all.

Despite these alternatives, cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancers among Filipinas.

Several studies have been done about the cervical cancer in the Philippines and may be found in the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN) such as the “Epidemiology, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer in the Philippines,” “Delineation of an appropriate and replicable cervical cancer screening program for Filipino women,” and “Knowledge and attitudes of female students on Pap Smear for diagnosis of cervical cancer, Cebu Institute of Medicine SY 2013-2014.” Aside from studies on cervical cancer, HERDIN has an array of more than 50,000 studies in other areas of health. HERDIN is an electronic database of both published and unpublished studies related to health research.

Sources:

https://www.bworldonline.com/what-women-should-know-about-cervical-cancer/

https://www.doh.gov.ph/Health-Advisory/Uterine-Cervix-Cancer

https://seriousmd.com/blog/guide-philippine-cervical-cancer-awareness-month-may/

https://www.nfcr.org/blog/attention-women-6-must-know-facts-about-cervical-cancer/

https://www.nccc-online.org/hpvcervical-cancer/cervical-cancer-overview/

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1762500


Did you know that 70 percent of health care decision-making are based on diagnostic test results? That’s why accurate, reliable, and effective diagnostic tools are crucial in order to improve patient care, protect patient’s health, and reduce the country’s cost of health care spending.

Recognizing the impact of diagnostic tools in healthcare, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) supports the development of local technologies for the early detection of diseases. Under the Diagnostics Program, the Council prioritizes to address 13 communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, emerging infectious diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases, diseases of the cardiovascular, among others.

From 2014 to 2018, the Council has invested more than 32.2 million pesos for research and development (R and D) under this priority area.

The most successful diagnostic test kit developed is the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit. This is a rapid diagnostic kit to confirm dengue infection in the first 0-5 days of illness, and the results would be known within an hour. Dr. Raul Destura of the University of the Philippines Manila led the development of this kit and spearheads the Manila HealthTek Inc., the spin-off company which produces and sells Biotek- M Kit in the market. In 2017-2018, more than 600 units of Biotek-M Kit were sold.

Three to five years from now, the DOST-PCHRD looks forward to seeing the following diagnostics kits under study to become available in the market.

The University of Manila’s low-cost point-of-care diagnostics for simultaneous detection of Paragonimus westermani and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Because pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and paragonimiasis share similar symptoms, development of a more accurate and sensitive diagnostic test kit is important for disease surveillance and proper patient care.

The development of an affordable, accurate, near point-of-care diagnostic kit or platform for rapid detection of HIV resistance to Lamivudine and other retrovirals. Lamivudine is an antiretroviral medication used to treat HIV AIDS and chronic Hepatitis B. Long-term use of lamivudine was observed to lead to emergence of resistant HIV and Hepatitis B virus. For people living with HIV, detection of resistant virus is important to be able to help doctors determine the appropriate medication thus, promote better disease management.

Given the complicated nature of the process of diagnosing diseases, technology is key in overcoming challenges that surround precision diagnosis. The DOST-PCHRD will continue to support Filipino researchers to address the lack of rapid and cost-effective diagnostic devices to make Filipino lives better.