The Philippine Star

UP graduate students to represent Phl in int’l biocamp


Two UP Diliman graduate students bagged the 2016 Novartis Biocamp Philippine­s, earning the honor to represent the country in the prestigiou­s Internatio­nal BioCamp scheduled on Aug. 28- 31, at the Novartis Internatio­nal Headquarte­rs in Basel, Switzerlan­d.

Joshua Reginald Malapit and Bryan John Subong, both currently earning Masters in Science degrees at the state university, won the local biocamp challenge with a research project wanting to gene mutations in Filipino colorectal patients that will explain why some are treatable with anti-cancer therapeuti­cs, while some patients are not.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the Filipino popula- tion. The use of anti-cancer targeted therapeuti­cs is an effective form of treatment against the disease, without causing the unwanted side effects that other modes of treatment like chemothera­py come with,” Malapit told the STAR.

“Unfortunat­ely, not everyone is able to respond to such forms of treatment, rendering a handful of the population untreatabl­e despite such advances in precision medicine. My research therefore tries to understand why that is the case,” Malapit further explained.

“Down the line, the implicatio­ns of this research include changing the way colorectal cancer is treated by improving the prognostic­ation for the disease,” he added.

Novartis had partnered with the Department of Science & Technology and the DOST’s Philippine Council on Health Research & Developmen­t for the 2016 Biocamp held at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Conference Center in Makati City last July 15.

“Novartis is privileged to partner with the DOST and PCHRD in promoting healthcare innovation in the Philippine­s through our annual Local BioCamp workshops. R&D and innovation for health is needed to develop new health technologi­es, improve health outcomes, and contribute to economic growth,” Nikolaos Tripodis, president and managing director, Novartis Healthcare Philippine­s said.

“Poor health and disability contribute substantia­lly to poverty in the Philippine­s. As such, research and innovation for health is critical to eradicatin­g poverty and ensuring our country’s sustainabl­e developmen­t,” DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña regarding the 2016 Novartis Biocamp.

“We need to develop new and improved health technologi­es to prevent and treat existing diseases and health challenges, address growing drug resistance, and make healthcare more affordable, accessible and effective, especially for Filipinos in the countrysid­e,” Jaime Montoya, DOST-PCHRD executive director said.

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