DLSU-IBEHT launches five new projects during virtual kick-off event

Working at the forefront of research and innovation on biomedical devices for health in the country, the De La Salle University - Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technologies (DLSU-IBEHT) launched five newly-approved projects during its virtual kick-off event last March 26, 2021.

Approved for support and funding by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) the five new projects will address all three areas under the IBEHT framework, namely: R&D activities, support systems, and capacity building. 

1. The AGAPAY Project aims to develop a 3D printed wearable robot biomimetically designed to account for all the movements of the upper limbs, which will provide post-stroke and injured patients with a cost-efficient and high performance rehabilitation system. Now on its third phase, the study aims to demonstrate  the technology’s safety, feasibility, and effectiveness on healthy human participants. Also, the project will establish and develop testing protocols while taking into consideration existing international standards for its therapy program. This project is lead by Dr. Renann Baldovino, Associate Professor at the Manufacturing Engineering and Management Department of the Gokongwei College of Engineering, De La Salle University.

2. The LAPARA Project will develop a laparoscopic instrument that aims to improve maneuverability and ease of use for surgeons while undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Currently on its second phase, the team aims to have the prototype certified for the overall safety of its mechanical, electrical, and electromagnetic design, based on international and local regulations and standards. After obtaining the certifications and ethical clearance required, the team will move to test its overall performance during surgical operations under ideal conditions. This project will be implemented under the leadership of Dr. Nilo Bugtai, DLSU-IBEHT Director and a Full Professor at the Manufacturing Engineering and Management Department of the Gokongwei College of Engineering, De La Salle University.

3. The TAYÔ Project seeks to create a technology that will allow the restoration of the needed range of motion, regaining of strength and the recovery of the patient's ability to stand. Moving forward to the second stage of research, the device will undergo rigorous performance and reliability tests to conform to local and international safety and compliance standards. The device will then be tested in a controlled environment using healthy human participants to further prove its safety and effectiveness. Now on its second phase, the project will be implemented under the supervision of Dr. Armyn Sy, Associate Professor at the Manufacturing Engineering and Management Department of the Gokongwei College of Engineering, De La Salle University.

4. The CAPACITA Project addresses the gaps in bringing research to commercialization. The project targets to enable and equip researchers, inventors, technology transfer officers, and related personnel with the skills and knowledge in the commercialization of biomedical engineering and health technologies. Following a two-year plan, the project will focus on the development and implementation of training, workshops, resource materials, exhibit fairs, and industry immersion. The project is led by Atty. Christopher Cruz, IP Director, ITSO Manager, and Legal Counsel of De La Salle University.

5. The KANDILI Project  aims to develop a competitive intellectual property management system that will effectively facilitate the commercialization of biomedical and health technology researches and efficiently transform government-funded research projects into products and services that serve the people for greater societal impact. The project intends to promote collaboration by conducting needs assessments among project teams, government, and various industry stakeholders to determine the gaps and barriers to a successful commercialization of biomedical devices and health technologies in the country and at the same time involve the government, the academe, and the industry in providing support for research teams in technology transfer . This project is implemented under the supervision of Ms. Pamela Raye Tadeo, De La Salle University’s Intellectual Property Officer.

Aside from these new projects, DLSU-IBEHT has an ongoing project with DOST-PCAARRD – the DOE Project – a project that aims to develop a wearable monitoring sensor that can be used to determine peak fertility to aid the process of goat artificial insemination.

In his welcome remarks, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya expressed his support to the projects, and emphasized the importance of advancing the field. “The lack of access to affordable medical devices has been identified as one of the challenges being faced by our healthcare system to date,” he says. “Our aim in the DOST-PCHRD is to strengthen the local capacity to produce our own health devices, and eventually prompt an environment where our researchers are able to aid our healthcare system through biomedical engineering,” he added.

IBEHT Director and Program Leader Dr. Nilo T. Bugtai also expressed his hopes for the projects and the Institute: "Manufacturing reliable, safe, easy to use and affordable biomedical devices developed by the Filipinos for Filipinos towards a healthier Filipino community and eventually, creating new industries for biomedical devices and equipment in the Philippines."