Laying the groundwork for medicine of the future
St. Luke’s Medical Center provides an exceptional example of how a Philippine-based medical institution could gain global recognition and respect by tapping into the expertise of its people and investing in cutting-edge technology, innovative practices, and facilities.
“Research and innovation are crucial drivers of change. By investing on homegrown talents, our readiness to adopt latest global technology trends, and through numerous partnerships, we are able to facilitate the development of innovative, high quality affordable products that can transform lives for the better,” says Dr. Arturo De La Peña, St. Luke’s-Global City SVP and Head for Medical Practices Group and Medical Director.
Located in a three-level facility within St. Luke’s-Quezon City, doctors and scientists collaborate to find the most effective treatment.
“It is at St. Luke’s Research and Biotechnology where the Philippines’ first serologic detection tests for Dengue and Chikungunya were developed. These tests are now being used by the hospital as an adjunct in the diagnosis of mosquito-borne diseases that have caused significant morbidity to the lives of our countrymen,” reports Dr. Isaac David E. Ampil II, St. Luke’s SVP and Head of Research and Biotechnology.
This same facility also developed the first ocular stem cell transplant in the country, that is now being offered to patients with eye diseases.
He adds that the laboratories, facilities, and equipment of St. Luke’s Research and Biotechnology are the most complete and most modern among private hospital-based research infrastructure in the country. It houses specialty laboratories for stem cell, genetic and molecular studies, drug discovery and development, as well as centers for clinical trials, health services outcomes research, biostatistics and epidemiology, education, and training.
Its Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory is the only facility of its kind for Philippine hospitals, providing genetic and molecular testing for cancer, infections, degenerative diseases and chromosomal abnormality-based disorders such as Down’s syndrome.
St. Luke’s recently established the first Human Cancer Biobank in the country, providing systematized collection and archiving of biological specimens from consenting cancer patients. This is vital in the development of personalized medicine strategies and the design of novel drugs and therapies, biomarker-based diagnostics and regulated clinical trials. The carefully collected and handled specimens, such as blood and other body fluids, solid tumor tissues and cells, are retrieved from cancer patients who underwent biopsy, surgery, or blood extraction. They are stored at ultralow temperatures in biofreezers or liquid nitrogen tanks for future use in research.
“St. Luke’s Research and Biotechnology boasts a long list of research achievements. In fact, Bahay Kubo Research, an online resource for researchers all over the world, cited
St. Luke’s as the highest ranking Philippine Hospital in terms of research productivity,” shares Dr. Ampil.
Established in July 1995, St. Luke’s Research and Biotechnology, has been a prime mover in the development of quality research and its utilization for the promotion of health and treatment of diseases. It also fosters a culture of excellent research and serves as a catalyst in the formation of an academic health care system.
“St. Luke’s researches achieve outstanding widespread recognition. In the past year alone, 40 of our researches were published in prestigious international journals, 46 were presented in international scholarly meetings, 41 were published in national publications, and 73 were presented in Philippine scientific conventions and congresses. Presently, there are 151 research projects for implementation,” enumerates Dr. Ampil.
With 246 clinical trials under its belt, St. Luke’s, through its Research and Biotechnology, currently has one of the highest number of global clinical trials in the Philippines. It has 29 international and 15 local research linkages, partnerships, and collaborations. More than helping clinicians find new ways of treating diseases and solving medical puzzles, St. Luke’s Research and Biotechnology’s scholarly researches and cutting-edge science endeavors to bring Filipinos closer to the medicine of the future.
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