DOST-PCHRD supported program on ‘top-tier’ plants intended for treating diseases, undergoes formulation stage

DOST-PCHRD supported program on ‘top-tier’ plants intended for treating diseases, undergoes formulation stage

With support from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), the Discovery and Development of Health Products (DDHP) Formulation and Standardization Program Phase 2 explores the potential of top tier plants for treating diseases like diabetes, cancer, and inflammation. 

Led by Dr. Irene Villaseñor of the University of the Philippines Diliman, the program entitled, “Discovery and Development of Health Products [DDHP]: Formulation, Standardization, and Metabolic Profiling of Disease-Specific Top-Tier Plants for Pre-Clinical and Clinical Development” aims to develop standardized and stable dosage forms of selected plant extracts for preclinical and clinical development. These plants were selected and classified through orthogonal assays which confirms the bioactivity of the extracts as compared to the primary assay.

During its formulation stage, the plant extracts are assessed and developed into dosage form that is suitable for human consumption. It is one of the most important stages of drug discovery and development as it determines the characteristics of all the active substances and pharmaceutical ingredients to be used in designing and formulating a dosage form which may be derived from pre-formulation studies, standardization, and metabolite profiling.

Currently, the program has produced and extensively studied seventeen (17) plant extracts, established extraction method, optimized the extraction parameters, completed the pharmacopeial tests of four (4) spray-dried ethanolic extracts (SDE), completed the acute oral toxicity tests of four (4) SDEs, undergone preliminary excipient formulations for eight (8) SDEs, putatively identified fifteen (15) compounds, and completed method development /optimization for four (4) plants.

Once the formulation is completed,  the project team will proceed to scaling up formulation where they will produce enough dosage forms with the goal of  eventually testing  their safety and efficacy through pre-clinical and clinical stages. 

PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya highlighted the importance of herbal medicine development. “Herbal medicine plays a large role in the community and is well-accepted in the rural areas, and validating the use of these traditional medicinal plants through research is a step closer into bridging the gap between evidence-based research and our fellow Filipino people,” he said.

This program is under the herbal track of the Tuklas Lunas® Program which is implemented by the DOST-PCHRD. The DDHP Formulation and Standardization  Program Phase 2 started in September 2021 and will be completed in September 2023, with a total funding from DOST-PCHRD amounting to Php 65,784,206.56. 

The Tuklas Lunas® Program is the drug discovery and development initiative of the DOST, which aims to produce world-class medicines derived from Philippine biodiversity, by leveraging on local expertise.

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