Angara keynotes Institute of Human Genetics’ 10th year anniversary

Senator Edgardo AngaraSenator Edgardo Angara highlighted the celebration of the 10th year anniversary of the Institute of Human Genetics with a keynote speech last February 25, 2009 at the Rigodon Hall of the Manila Hotel. Senator Angara, who is a staunch supporter of the scientific community, reaffirmed his commitment to support the advances in human genetics in front of hundreds of participants consisting of doctors, public health workers, researchers, scientists and other stakeholders from all over the country.

 

Advances and Challenges

Angara emphasized the public health importance of genetic research on chronic and highly contagious illnesses and in alleviating the burden of diseases with the highly targeted therapeutic management and counseling through new knowledge and deeper understanding of the mechanisms of the disease. “Such steps not only prolong life but promotes healthy living,” the senator added.

The senator recalled the challenges faced by such research in the legislation. Ethical issues have long haunted genetics and stem cell research in the halls of policy making. “But now, researchers find new ways to address those issues,” the senator allayed. Today, research grants are available for genetics and stem cell researches. “The true and imminent challenge now is for the geneticists to tackle the most common of our diseases…like diarrhea. TB and malaria,” the senator urged.

Addressing fear of science

The misunderstandings and ethical issues can be addressed by the researchers through translating the technical outputs into forms digestible by the general public and the policy makers. Such “fear of science” has rooted from difficulty in understanding the technical jargons and making sensible meaning from those researches, Angara said.

Lifting the standards

Recognizing the benefits of a strong education in the sciences and mathematics, the Senator, on behalf of the Senate, pledged to improve the standards of education. “It will eventually translate not only to long life and healthier living but also in the production of crops and addressing poverty and hunger in our world,” the senator concluded.

Present during the symposium were international guests who are stalwarts of genetics and newborn screening in their respective countries: Prof Bradford Therrell (US National Screening and Genetics Resources Center), Prof David Sillence (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Australia), Prof Pornswan Wasant (Mahidol University, Thailand), Prof Sangkot Marzuki (Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesia), Prof Thong Meow-Keong (University of Malaya, Malaysia), Prof Lai Poh San (National University of Singapore), Prof Masafumi Matsuo (Kobe University, Japan), and Prof Stephen Lam (Department of Health, Hong Kong, China).

University of the Philippines Vice President Amelia Guevarra, University of the Philippines Manila Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio, Vice Chancellors Josephina Tayag, Zorayda Leopando, and Lulu Bravo also graced the occasion.