Research on personalized medicine dosages based on genetics proclaimed best thesis


(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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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • WeAry_Bat

    Shucks, the three papers mentioned therein can be important and profitable.  The second paper could help should water become contaminated from buried and seeping toxic residues, if I guess it is another reporter wrong spelling, remediation instead of remedation.

  • tamumd

    OK this is hardly anything original or novel. The application of this concept is already being done clinically. One such example is the dosing for Warfarin – a very common anticoagulant. This particular medication is known to have a very narrow therapeutic index and has wide inter-individual dose requirement variations, which make this drug dangerous and hard to calibrate. Turned out, there’re different allelic polymorphisms called SNPs in the genes of enzymes that control the metabolism of this drug among different ethnic groups. These polymorphisms make different group of individuals respond to the drug differently. Some centers now have the capability of determing patient’s allelic variations for VKORC1 and CYP2C9 genes before putting someone on warfarin. Another example is in the treatment of breast cancer – identifying patients who are positive for the Estrogen receptors, HER2 as well as for BRCA 1 & 2 genes dictate a certain type of specific antineoplastic regimen. These are all accomplished by microarray technology.

    • R. Lorenz Chua

      Mr. “tamumd”

      Yes, you’re right about the studies regarding the single nucleotide
      polymorphisms (SNPs) that enlighten us about personalized medicine. However,
      what’s novel about the study is something that this article fails to mention.
      It is the 3’-untranslated region that is being checked, not the coding region,
      and that the gene of interest is a trans-activator of CYP3A4, the pregnane X receptor

      The 3’UTR of the mRNA is known as the region where microRNA (miRNA)
      binds to and thus, downregulates the said expression of the gene. This is the
      novelty of the study. It should also be noted that known SNPs along the 3’UTR
      are also being checked which may or may not affect the binding of the miRNA.

      • tamumd

        OK..I guess you cannot rely to get the specific details from a non-technical paper. Is this about the RNAi HTS technology then? Where can I access the original research? Is it published somewhere?

  • Catdoggie

    You should also study how many Pinoys die of stomach cancer from eating imported food from your “friendly” next door country neighbor versus those Pinoys eating fresh food from province – with less imported chemicals. All rejected food they export to other countries are being channeled to my beloved Pinas. No need of nuking Pinoys. Plus they profit too. Help us St. Peter Calungsod.

    • WeAry_Bat

      Spectrograph Analysis Determining Primary Chemicals and Secondary By-Products in Supposedly Digestible Matter from A Well-Known Offending Oriental Manufacturer

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