Research on personalized medicine dosages based on genetics proclaimed best thesis

By: Dona Z. Pazzibugan, January 28th, 2013 03:14 AM

(Editor’s Note:  We are re-posting this article with a new paragraph 5 which states the title of Mr. Sy’s research work and sets the parameters of his research and corrects paragraph 6, stating that Mr. Sy is 21, not 24, and stating the specific focus of his research.)

MANILA, Philippines — An attempt to personalize the dosage of medicine according to a patient’s most basic genetic structure was chosen as the best university scientific research this year.

For his work,  molecular biology student Jann Adriel Sy from the University of the Philippines-Diliman bagged the latest Bank of the Philippine Islands-Department of Science and Technology (BPI-DOST) Best Project of the Year award.

The award came with a P50,000 cash prize and a DOST post-graduate scholarship.

According to the DOST, Sy’s research involving the complicated world of pharmacogenetics seeks to help end cases of adverse drug reactions among patients that could result in death.

Sy’s novel study on genetics-based drug dosage is entitled, “Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the 3′ untranslated region of the pregnane X receptor gene and inter-individual variability in drug responses.”

Mr Sy, 21 (not 24, as previously reported), a fourth year student of BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Diliman, is studying mutations on the 3′ untranslated region (3’UTR) rather than on the protein-coding region (as previously reported), which has been done before.

Sy said despite advancements in clinical medicine, drugs in standard dosages could not guarantee normal metabolic responses in every individual due to differences in genetic structure.

As an example, a person with slow metabolism who takes a 500-mg paracetamol could suffer from toxic side effects and ultimately, death, according to Sy.

Sy credited his thesis adviser, Dr. Reynaldo Garcia, for giving him the idea for his research to help medical practitioners prescribe the right dosage tailored to a patient’s specific drug metabolic speed in order to reduce risks of side effects or of cases where drugs do not produce the intended benefit.

His study is among the advanced researches done at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP Diliman.

Meanwhile, Jose Paolo Aguilar, a BS Biology student from the University of Santo Tomas, won second best project, which included a P30,000 cash prize for his project titled, “Remedation of chromium by immobilized microorganisms with zero-valent iron nanoparticles.”

The third best project went to Napoleon Salvador Antonio, who takes up BS Chemistry with Materials Science and Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University, for his study titled, “Towards affordable solar cells: Fabrication of photovoltaic devices incorporating doped graphene from graphite and doped Carbon from pyrolyzed glycerol.”

The BPI-DOST Best Project of the Year is an annual research competition that recognizes students who excel in specialized fields of science.

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