Natural Substance Research Centers Set

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - The government is putting up three Natural Substance Research Centers (NSRC) nationwide in order to develop drug sources that have the potential to be commercially released in the market.

The first NSRC has so far been selected by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). This is the Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). Each of the country's major islands - Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao - should have its own NSRC, also called "Tuklas Lunas Center."

"We're establishing a Drug Discovery Database which will store information on all natural products research. It will be a tool in guiding researchers as to which species have the potential for further studies leading to the discovery of new drugs," said PCHRD Research and Development Management (R&D) Director Antonio D. Ligsay in a statement.

The MSU-IIT has been chosen by an NSRC selection board with its potentially significant function specifically in drug discovery on endemic terrestrial and marine species in Mindanao. It is also in relation to government's earlier funding of a study of the Marine Science Institute on drug discovery from sponges and snails. Drug products from these may be painkillers, Pneumonia cure, and Tuberculosis Bacteria cure.

An NSRC will receive a grant from the government for capability building of staff and equipment acquisition.

"MSU-IIT is known for its excellent R&D track record, competitive staff and institutional capacity. In effect, the award will cover provisions for laboratory equipment like the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Fraction collectors, rotary evaporators and others," said Ligsay.

PCHRD also plans to put up an animal facility as part of its drug discovery program.

"This facility which will cater to experimental animal studies, leading to good understanding of the toxicological and bioavailability properties of candidate drugs," said Ligsay. …