Science and health communities in the whole world are rejoicing after a novel treatment successfully cured blood cancers.

Using genetically engineered cells, the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) developed a new therapy system called personalized cellular therapy that cured 26 adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and 19 children suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

The process starts by extracting T-cells, a type of white blood cells from the patient’s own immune system. The T-cells are then genetically reprogrammed and multiplied in the laboratory and reintroduce to the patient’s body.

After its infusion, the genetically engineered T-cells will proliferate inside patient’s body and attack tumor cells through its anti-body like protein called chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) designed to bind and kill cancerous cells. This process will manifest severe flu-like symptoms, high fevers, nausea, and in some cases breathing difficulties to patients.

Results after four weeks of treatment showed that 85 percent of the paediatric patients with ALL and 40 percent of the adults with CLL have complete remissions -- a first time in history of leukaemia treatment gaining high positive response regardless of patient’s age and extent of the disease.

The study also emphasized that unlike the traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgical therapy and radiation therapy which have tremendous side effects to patients, personalized cellular therapy leaves no collateral damages to patient’s body. Genetically engineered T-cells specifically target cancer cells and provide continues vaccine-like activity that prevents B-cells (presumably tumour cells) from growing back.


The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) will run a six-month feeding project to provide nutrient-rich food by January 2014 to typhoon Yolanda victims.

Around four million people have been left homeless and 10 million are affected by typhoon, based on the latest report of the government. The demand for food is huge and more feeding projects are needed.  However, typhoon victims need the right diet with calories, proteins, and vitamins than relief goods for temporary sustenance, according to the FNRI Director Mario Capanzana (the project leader).

To meet these nutritional needs of typhoon victims, Dr. Capanzana and his team will give ready-to-eat or complementary foods, which are appropriate for emergency feeding and for monitoring effects of this type of food on Filipinos’ nutrition.

The products are made from rice and mongo like BIGMO Instant Baby food for six months to two years old, Nutri-MAM, snack food for one to five years old, Nutri-Bites (rice power bar and compressed food), and BIGMO curls for all age groups. (Hope R. Bongolan/PCHRD)

Global Engage, Ltd., together with Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), is inviting individuals for the upcoming Plant Genomics Congress Asia, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 24-25 February 2014.   

The said Congress is in line with the European Plant Genomics Congress that was held in May and the American Meeting that took place in September. The Congress aims to examine the latest Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms and technologies suitable for progressing plant based research as well as tools to enable successful analysis. Expected participants include experts working in areas such as plant sciences, next generation sequencing, genomics, epigenetics, bioinformatics and data management. Presentations will comprise topics on regional crops such as rice, wheat, barley, maize, soybean, rapeseed, palm oil, among others.

For more information, you may download the copy of Plant Genomics Congress Asia Agenda at or you may visit their website at

Call for Entrees/Nominations for 2013 DOST International  Publication Awards

The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Philippines through its project entitled, "Evaluation and Improvement of the Research Publication and IP Productivity of the DOST R&D Institutes" is searching for possible entrees for its 2013 DOST International Publication Awards

The DOST International Publication Awards are given annually for journal publications of DOST researchers, in Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI)/Scorpus indexed journals, in the last two years preceding the award. The authors of chosen publication will receive a cash reward of fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000). Co-authors outside DOST will not be entitled to receive incentives.

Take note that endorsements should be made by the heads of research institutes.


  • Majority of researches were conducted in the Philippines
  • Author's affiliation must be any of the DOST RDIs


Please submit two (2) copies of journal publication, a duly accomplished nomination form, and an electronic copy of nominations in pdf format through e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The deadline for submission of nominations is on December 20, 2013.

Please click here to download the nomination form.




3rd/Flr. Science Heritage Bldg. DOST Cmpd. Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila

Direct Line: 8373170; Trunkline: 8372071 loc 2170;

Email: 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.

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Since pregnancy is such a delicate period, double protection should be given not only to what the child eats, but also to what he is exposed to as babies exposed to pesticides while in the womb are at risk of developing poor motor abilities at the age of two, study said.

A total of 696 mothers and newborns at Bulacan Provincial Hospital (BPH) outpatient department were tested for exposure to pesticides since use of pesticides is common in Bulacan, being an agro-industrial province in the Philippines.

Most of mothers and infants were found to be exposed to pesticides with propoxur. Propoxur is used for controlling cockroaches, flies, and mosquitos as well as for agricultural purposes. Researchers also attributed the exposure to propoxur to the high prevalence of flies and mosquitoes in the study site.

After babies were followed up in two years, those with prenatal exposure to pesticide were associated with poorer motor development. The study explained that the effect of prenatal exposure was more evident in motor because it is one of the first functions to develop in children. Also, prenatal exposure poses high risk to children because it is during the pregnancy that brain growth and development are at highest rate of vulnerability.

“Although the recognizable effects of maternal exposure to low doses of environmental pesticides are minimal, serious concerns have been raised about their adverse effects on the fetus, particularly on subsequent neurodevelopmental, learning and behavioral difficulties in the children,” researchers emphasized.

The study was a collaboration of Wayne State University (WSU), University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH), and Davao Regional Hospital (DRH), and was published online at