Hypertension is considered as the number one contributing risk factor for global deaths, causing strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular complications. The month of May is declared as the “National Awareness Month” to prevent and control this disease.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development is one with the International Society of Hypertension and the Department of Health in celebrating the national awareness month to raise consciousness and to encourage citizens of all countries to counter this modern epidemic.

#KnowYourNumbers

This year’s theme for the hypertension awareness campaign is #KnowYourNumbers which aims to enhearten everyone to have their blood pressure checked and measured. The proportion of strokes in younger adults is rising each year and it is mainly caused by high blood pressure or hypertension, public health agencies urge the public to know your number regardless of age.

According to the Philippine Heart Association, normal blood pressure will fall under 120 over 80. This is the ideal blood pressure for people with lower risk of heart disease or stroke. The longer a person lets his blood pressure go high, the more it can cause irreversible damages to the body.

National Hypertension Awareness Month is an opportunity not only to campaign to have your blood pressure checked but also to check other health risk factors such as blood sugar and cholesterol to ensure a healthy body.

Research on Hypertension

PCHRD supports studies that are aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA). Some of the researches on hypertension are being conducted under NUHRA priority areas such as Tuklas Lunas and OMIC Technologies for Health Research and Development.

The Tuklas Lunas Program is the Council’s program on drug discovery and development from the natural resources of the country. For the herbal track of the program, 28 plants such as malunggay are currently undergoing formulation and standardization studies for hypertension and other diseases.  For drug track, 10 plants for hypertension are undergoing isolation and purification activities to identify active compounds.

On the other hand, Omics focuses on using omic technology platforms in developing local technologies which can lead to the development of personalized healthcare and as support to clinical practice guidelines and policies in the country. Significantly, the program on “Genomic Researches on Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease and Dyslipidemia towards the Development of Individualized Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies” has produced an initial list of genes indicating specific drug response of Filipino patients to selected medications against cardiovascular diseases.

Raising Consciousness

Hypertension Awareness Month is also celebrated alongside the international campaign for May Measurement Month which is an initiative to screen millions of people who have not had their blood pressures measured.

The Council encourages everyone to maintain a healthy body in order to avoid developing hypertension and to #KnowYourNumbers by visiting your doctors regularly and by checking your BPs. This will help people to live a better life that is free from hypertension.

Details
Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig

Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder, passed on from mothers, which affects the blood’s ability to clot. The World Hemophilia Federation estimates that about 10,000 Filipinos have hemophilia, with about 1 million suffering from Von Willebrand disease and other bleeding disorders. As we celebrate the Hemophilia Awareness Month this April, here are five facts on hemophilia gathered from a study entitled "Hemorrhagic diseases in Filipino children” published in The Philippine Journal of Pediatrics.

There are two common types of hemophilia
Hemophilia A is the most common type of hemophilia that occurs in about 1 in 5000 males caused by missing or defective factor VIII. Hemophilia B is a less common type of hemophilia that occurs in about 1 in 25000 male births caused by missing or defective factor IX. Having a defective factor means that the body of person has no means to repair itself when there is damage in the blood vessel or injured tissue that will lead to excessive bleeding and internal hemorrhaging.

Uncontrolled bleeding occurs
A more serious concern for people suffering from hemophilia is spontaneous bleeding; any leak can cause severe bleeding and the body will not heal itself. Bleeding into different organs can be life threatening because when it occurs to a vital organ, it can cause permanent damage beyond repair.

It affects children
Hemophilia B Leyden is an extremely rare form of Hemophilia B that causes young children to bleed excessively throughout childhood but when they reach puberty, very little bleeding occurs afterward.

Women can get affected too
Hemophilia is a recessive x-linked trait which affects approximately 1 in 4500 males, but there are cases in which the mutation can cause the same disease issue to the carrier [mothers].

No cure available yet
Medical scientists haven’t found a cure yet for this condition. The only treatment available for hemophilia is replacement therapy wherein, concentrates of clotting factor VIII (for hemophilia A) and IX (for hemophilia B) are slowly dripped or injected into a vein. This helps in replacing the defective clotting factor of the blood. Out of the 10000 Filipinos that suffer from hemophilia, 3 out of every 4 people lack the resources required for proper treatments.

This research is one of the many studies on hemophilia uploaded in the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN), an online database of PCHRD that enables online publishing, exchanging, and dissemination of quality health information in the Philippines. It is the only health research repository for published researches in the county.

In the spirit of raising awareness on Hemophilia Month, PCHRD invites universities, colleges, laboratories, and medical and research institutions to upload their published and unpublished researches to HERDIN to expand the reach of their study and foster collaboration to find research-based solutions to healthcare problems such as hemophilia.

For more information, you can visit HERDIN’s website at http://www.herdin.ph/

Details
Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig



The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development held a forum on the TB Filipino Impact Testing (FIT): Impact Assessment of Diagnostic Algorithms and Tools for Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR-TB) and Drug Sensitive Tuberculosis (TB) in the Philippines last April 25, 2018 at the NIH Conference Room, UP Manila.

Proponent of the study Dr. Charles Yu of De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (DLSHSI) and Mr. Ewan Tomeny from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in UK delivered the presentation on the initial results and future implications of the project on the cost effectiveness of TB diagnosis in the country.

TB FIT is one of the projects under the Newton Agham program under the Medical Research Council (MRC) – UK and PCHRD collaboration. The program extends assistance to projects that helps improve health outcomes through research-based solutions and innovations.

According to Dr. Yu, the study is being conducted to support the cost-effective roll-out of new tools and algorithms for the diagnosis of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and drug-sensitive tuberculosis in the Philippines. He explained that this will lead to the delivery of improvement to TB/MDR-TB case detection in the Philippines, as well as promote the economic development and welfare of the country.

The project developed a computer model to assess the impacts of different diagnostic algorithms for TB including new and currently available tools. It was designed to represent patient pathways at specific sites that will be used to compare the impacts and cost-effectiveness of different diagnostic algorithms.

Initial results from modelling Cavite sites shows that rolling out GeneXpert as a replacement to microscopy is cost-effective where drug sensitive and MDR-TB cases are correctly treated. Moreover, it has been shown that most of the alternative diagnostic algorithms modelled would significantly reduce patient costs .

Mr. Ewan Tomeny discussed that  the virtual implementation modelling can provide a better understanding of current and potential future patient pathways through visualization, comparison of options by projecting the patient and health systems evidence over extended timeframes, estimation of patient and health system costs, and assessment of incremental cost effectiveness of scale up.

The next stage of the research will look at data from additional provinces in the Philippines. Data will shortly be available for Davao and Bulacan. LSTM will support the DLSHSI and National TB Control Program (NTP) in using the models to evaluate alternative diagnostic algorithms in these provinces and then across the Philippines.

The forum was an opportune moment for researchers and medical practitioners to discuss and assess the current TB situation in the Philippines, most of them were interested in using the model and apply it to the detection of other diseases such as dengue or HIV.

TB FIT is one of the six projects of the 1st cycle of the Newton Agham program that is able to produce quality results that impacts public health. Encouraged by the success of the first six projects in Cycle 1, the Medical Research Council – UK (MRC) and PCHRD launched the second cycle of the Newton Fund last March 2, 2017 where 12 concept proposals were shortlisted for full proposal development.

Details
Written by Catherine Joy C. Dimailig

Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Executive Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya will lead the presentation of the accomplishments in health research and development at the 3rd National Research and Development Conference (NRDC) on 20 April 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Scientists and researchers of the country come together at the annual conference to present projects on five sector components: (1) basic research, (2) agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources, (3) health, (4) industry, energy, and emerging technology, and (5) disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Underlining the Council’s support in every stage in health research, Dr. Montoya will discuss the Council’s accomplishments of the previous year and the exciting developments to look forward to this 2018.

The health sector will have a notable lineup of four speakers startingwith Dr. Mario V. Capanzana of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute who will talk about the Malnutrition Reduction Program.

Dr. Raul V. Destura of UP Manila and the Philippine Genome Center will be presenting “Lab-in-a-Mug Project: How Dengue brought us together,” highlighting the development and the process behind the affordable, accurate, and rapid test kit for accurate detection of dengue infection—Biotek-MTM Dengue aqua kit. Biotek-MTM recently received a gold medal at the Salon International des Inventions de Genève.

The “Axis Knee System: Confidence in Every Step” by Dr. Ilustre I. Guloy of the Orthopaedic International Inc. and Asian Hospital and Medical Center will discuss the cost-efficient, simple, and revolutionary knee replacement system that is now commercially available for individuals suffering from severe osteoarthritis.

Dr. Evangeline C. Amor will be discussing one of the projects under the Tuklas Lunas Program: Discovery and Development of Health Products: Terrestrial Herbals and Drug Candidates, a collaborative research program among institutions across the country. Supplements and medicine for disease such as diabetes, inflammation and pain, hypertension and high cholesterol, gout, and microbial infection could be made available through the discoveries of the projects.

The conference will showcase updates on the Harmonized National R&D Agenda (HRNDA 2017-2022). NRDC is an annual gathering to consult and gather inputs of government agencies, private R&D institutions, the academe, industry, and other concerned agencies for research and development plans and programs.

Details
Written by Reuben Andrew R. Razal

BIOTEK-MTM Dengue Aqua Kit , a Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) assisted technology, was one of the gold awardees during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva held on 11-15 April 2018 at Palexpo, Geneva.

Engr. Edgar Garcia, Director of Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI), and Ambassador Evan Garcia, Representative of the Philippines to UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva, accepted the award for the Filipino Inventions and DOST-assisted technologies - Smart Surface and BIOTEK-M during the event.

BIOTEK-M is an affordable and locally developed rapid test kit for accurate detection of dengue infection within an hour. It is part of the “Lab-in-a-Mug Project” where diagnostic kits are integrated in an isothermal unit as small as a “mug” which functions as a diagnostic device similar to a portable laboratory. The local innovation has high sensitivity, high specificity, robust, and is less expensive than current diagnostic tests in the market.

It was created by experts from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila led by Dr. Raul Destura. BIOTEK-M was developed through funding from DOST, PCHRD, and its commercialization is supported by TAPI.

The development of the technology generated the first spin-off company from the University of the Philippines since 1908, the Manila Healthtek, Inc. The R&D company on health biotechnology focuses on developing and providing affordable diagnostic technologies for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

BIOTEK-M was one of the thousand inventions on display during the international exhibition. Inventions related to health, medicine, environment and safety had the strongest presence during the show. In fact, the Grand Prix is a medical invention from Hong Kong, a multi-segment lens for glasses designed to defocus short-sighted vision which enables myopia to be controlled.

The exhibition is regarded as the world's most important event exclusively dedicated to inventions and a unique marketplace for industry professionals. This year, the annual exhibition attracted 31,050 visitors, 822 exhibitors, and 1000 innovations from more than 40 countries.

Details
Written by Jessica Marie R. Suerte

Page 1 of 23