The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) together with the Department of Health (DOH) organized an online Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training program in preparation for the conduct of vaccine clinical trials.
The GCP training aims to capacitate community healthcare workers (CHWs) on upholding and safeguarding the rights of participants in vaccine clinical trials, and to provide a platform where the CHWs may raise their questions and concerns on the upcoming trial.
Covering different areas that will help ensure the trial’s adherence to scientific and ethical standards, the training will feature modules from notable experts in the field:
1. DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya - Clinical Trials Administrative Oversight 2. Forum for Ethical Review Committees in Asia and the Western Pacific - Asian Regional Coordinator Dr. Cristina E. Torres - The Dos and Don'ts of Clinical Trials 3. University of the Philippines-Manila Research Ethics Board Coordinator Ms. Edlyn Jimenez - Informed Consent at Recruitment ng Participants 4. Philippine Clinical Research Professionals President Mr. Al Ryan Baniqued - Safety Reporting at Documentation ng Clinical Trials
The training will follow a “flipped classroom” format, where the participants may access the modules at their own time and pace. Certificates will be provided for those who will complete the program.
“Capacitating our community healthcare workers is very critical to ensure the success of vaccine clinical trials, especially since they will serve as the primary touchpoints of the participants," DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime C. Montoya says. "It is our hope that through this program, we will be able to strengthen our efforts by making sure that we will always adhere to the highest scientific and ethical standards,” he adds.
All CHWs are welcome to join the online training, including: City Health Workers, Municipal Health Workers, Barangay health workers, licensed doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists serving in public health centers and hospitals, and other licensed health professionals working in private clinics or hospitals.
Interested participants must take note of the following requirements for the online training:
1. Internet-enabled gadgets such as a laptop, mobile phone or tablet
2. Email account
3. Facebook account (optional)
Deadline of the registration for the online training is on April 12, 2021. Enrollment may be done through this link: bit.ly/GCPenrollment.
The DOST-PCHRD Undergraduate Thesis Grant in Natural Products provides fund support to all undergraduate students who will conduct their thesis on natural products. The program aims to sustain a research culture in natural products to increase the number of research and later on build a pool of researchers/experts specializing in the field. The program supports the Tuklas Lunas (Drug Discovery and Development) program of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) which aims to develop safe, effective, and affordable alternative drugs from the country’s natural resources.
Thesis grants will be given to two (2) undergraduate entries per region (subject to availability of funds). After completion of the project, a competition will be held for selected qualified students to recognize their innovative work on natural products.
Who can apply?
All undergraduate students of Pharmacy, Chemistry, Nursing, and Health and Allied Sciences who have thesis proposals on natural products may apply. The proposed thesis study must use plants indigenous in the region. The project must be completed a year after receiving the grant.
Endorsement letter from the institution signed by the head of the university and the college dean
Soft copy of the proposal (word format)
Hard copy of the proposal using A4 paper (3 copies)
Certificate of plant authentication
Bureau of Animal Industry clearance for studies involving animal subjects
Biosafety Clearance for studies involving genetic engineering and pathogenic organisms
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Clearance for studies involving Indigenous Peoples
Gratuitous Permit from Biodiversity Management Bureau for studies involving collection of flora and fauna from DENR Protected Areas
Ethical clearance for studies involving human subjects
Curriculum vitae of the students and adviser
The research proposals will be rated based on the following criteria:
Technical merit • Objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound • The study design supports the objectives • The study sample and methodology are appropriate
Data management • The plan for data collection is clearly described • Quality control procedures for data collection are in place • Statistical analysis is well described
Relevance/Significance • The study addresses an important health problem • The study contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge
Proponent/institution’s capacity • The investigators are qualified and appropriately trained to carry out the study • The proposed study is appropriate to the experience level of the investigators • The implementing/cooperating institution is capable of carrying out the proposed study
Two (2) thesis proposals will be selected in each region. Researchers will receive a grant amounting to a maximum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00).
The thesis grant will be deposited to the bank account of the thesis adviser and will be liquidated after the completion of the study
A Memorandum of Agreement will be signed between the students, adviser, head of the institution, and DOST-PCHRD
The grant must be expended as allocated in the approved line-item budget
Six (6) grantees will be selected as finalists to present their studies during the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) week celebration. The top three (3) presentors will receive the following prizes:
Frist prize = P 30,000.00
P 20,000.00 for the student
P 10,000.00 for the adviser
Second prize = P 22,000.00
P 15,000.00 for the student
P 7,000.00 for the adviser
Third prize = P 15,000.00
P 10,000.00 for the student
P 5,000.00 for the adviser
P 5,000 per group
Finalists will receive a plaque of recognition.
Schedule of Activities
Call for Applications
March to May 2021
Deadline of submission to the consortium
May 31, 2021
Endorsement of shortlisted entries to DOST-PCHRD
June 11, 2021
Evaluation of thesis proposals by the Selection Committee and Provision of grants to selected grantees
June to July 2021
Conduct of study
August 2021 to May 2022
Submission of completed studies to DOST-PCHRD
June 3, 2022
Selection of oral presentors by the Selection Committee
June to July 2022
Oral Presentation and Announcement of Winners
Even today, the “valley of death” remains to be a pressing challenge in research, which pertains to the difficulty of bringing research outputs to the market. Of which, the field of biomedical engineering and health technologies is no exception.
To help researchers overcome this daunting challenge, the DOST-PCHRD in partnership with the De La Salle University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technologies (DLSU-IBEHT) launched the CAPACITA project (Capacity Building for Researchers, Inventors and Technology Transfer Personnel Commercializing Biomedical Devices and Health Technologies), which aims to equip researchers, inventors and technology transfer officers with the knowledge and skills necessary for commercialization. Focusing on specific issues concerning the industry of biomedical engineering and health technologies, the CAPACITÀ Project aims to delve into topics relating to clinical trials, government regulatory requirements, and ethical questions concerning commercialization, among others.
The project will follow a two-year plan:
Year 1: In preparation for the implementation, the team will conduct a needs-assessment survey and study for the development of resource materials, course of trainings and workshops. The conduct of the study will ensure that the capacity building activities will accommodate the needs of the field in terms of commercialization.
Year 2: Implementation of the trainings and workshops in partnership with different institutions.
“There are very few capacity building programs in the field which aims to fill this gap [in commercialization]. This project is unique because it focuses on biomedical engineering and health technologies,” CAPACITA Project Leader and Director of the DLSU Intellectual Property Office (DIPO) Atty. Christopher Cruz says. “Our goal is to positively impact the society, and we will take pride in the fact that we did it in spite of the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic posed,” he added.
The CAPACITA project is one of the newly-approved projects launched by the IBEHT during its virtual kick-off event last March 26, 2021. The project team already started the implementation of Year 1 of the project last September 2020.
The world has taken remarkable strides in sciences throughout its efforts to combat COVID-19 as a newly emerging disease. By allowing experts to better understand the disease and its effects on the human body, the field of biomedical research has contributed significant knowledge to COVID-19 response globally. Recognizing its potential in addressing pressing health concerns, Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) Balik Scientist Dr. Heidie Frisco-Cabanos returned to the Philippines in March 2020 with hopes to contribute to the field of biomedical translational research in the country.
With her experience and expertise as a research fellow from the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Medical School, Dr. Cabanos is currently serving as a visiting scientist-consultant for the establishment of the Biomedical Innovations Research for Translational Health Science Laboratory (BIRTHS Lab) in the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (UPM-CM-DBMB).
“The main goal really of my BSP visit is to help establish cutting-edge biomedical research in the Philippines,” says Dr. Cabanos, believing that it would help advance biomedical research and enable the translation of research outcomes to solutions for infectious diseases. Once established, the BIRTHS Lab is set to develop local capacities in performing experimental work involving laboratory animals and such alternatives. It will also facilitate projects on COVID-19 immune responses and vaccine-induced immunity, which can be used as reference in exploring the applications of similar technologies and solutions for other diseases.
Having started her Balik Scientist engagement during the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Cabanos admits that the scientific community was thrown into disarray, especially the field of biomedical translational research where extensive laboratory experiments are required. Forced to postpone all on-site visits due to travel restrictions, the Balik Scientist remained unfazed and dedicated to her work, continuing to impart her expertise to Filipino researchers through online seminars, lectures, and meetings. This is a testament to what she shares is one of the most important lessons she has learned as a woman scientist during the pandemic─ being able to adapt to any situation.
Dr. Cabanos believes that women are able to make significant impact in providing solutions to the pandemic with their ability to better empathize with the needs of vulnerable sectors. “Women should continue to be a voice with a heart and give perspectives normally not observed by men and the rest of society,” she says on the role of women, especially those in science, in this pandemic.
Through the grit and perseverance of women scientists such as Dr. Cabanos, health research is able to move forward amidst a global health crisis. To Dr. Cabanos, “Science is not a sprint but a marathon.” The work and knowledge generated by the previous generations of scientists and researchers are the foundation to the breakthroughs being achieved today. In turn, Dr. Cabanos hopes that her efforts in establishing biomedical translational research in the country will bear greater outcomes in the future that will make Filipino lives better.
Hoping that there will be more women scientists who will facilitate research-based, accessible health solutions for Filipinos, Dr. Cabanos encourages aspiring researchers to enrich their talents and skills with guidance from a mentor. As a mentor herself during her BSP engagement, she advises to “be humble by admitting that you don’t have answers to everything and learn from other experts.”
The Balik Scientist Program is the brain gain initiative of the DOST which aims to encourage overseas-based Filipino researchers to return to the Philippines and share their expertise to strengthen the capacities of local researchers in the academe, public and private sectors, and industry.
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 Projectaims 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."