NTRL pilots nanotechnology application in detecting Tuberculosis

The National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM-NTRL) in partnership with the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB BIOTECH), the Alocilja Nano-Biosensors Lab of the Michigan State University (MSU), and the Provincial Government of Bohol conducted the Applications of Nanotechnology in Tuberculosis Detection Workshop last February 20 at Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

According to RITM-NTRL Policy and Research Unit Head Mr. Dodge Lim, the workshop aligns with the effort of the Provincial Government of Bohol to establish the very first development center for nanotechnology in the Philippines encompassing health, tourism, and education particularly in agriculture and Biosystems engineering. Lim added that the workshop addresses the need of the province to manage and control Tuberculosis (TB), as Bohol is currently close to the national positivity rate of 12% with smear-positive cases.

Increasing awareness on the potential use and application of nanotechnology in nanomedicine and diagnostics, Lim along with RITM-NTRL Laboratory Services Unit, Routine Section Head Ms. Rocelle Marie Agero demonstrated the use of nanoparticles in TB detection, while UPLB BIOTECH Dr. Lilia Fernando showcased their different nanotech applications in agriculture. The team also presented the wide applications of nanotechnology in agriculture and health to the students of Bohol Island State University (BISU) Bilar Campus.

Bohol Health Cluster Head Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Greg Sodusta, Dr. Evelyn Flordelis led and facilitated the workshop with 25 physicians, medical technologists, and nurses all throughout the day.

As an outcome of the workshop, RITM-NTRL is set to collaborate with the province of Bohol in its nanotechnology studies as a potential study site.

“This project is timely in response to the call of the End TB Strategy to reduce the incidence of TB by 95% in 2035 compared to the 2015 data through discovery, development and rapid uptake of new tools, interventions and strategies. The future of bio sensing diagnostics through the use of nanoparticles for rapid, sensitive, affordable and simple pathogen detection is within our grasp,” said Lim.

RITM-NTRL aims to evaluate the nanoparticles technology pioneered and brought by MSU Alocilja Nano-Biosensors Lab Director Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja into the Institute in the diagnostics of TB and other infectious diseases such HIV among others in the country.

by Allenor Enciso