Press Release: The Medical City Opens Clinical + Translational Research Institute

The Medical City {TMC} announces the establishment of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute {CTRI} designed to meet the evolving needs of the medical community. The CTRI will also serve as a platform for the institution to assume a leadership role in bridging the gap in clinical research from the laboratory setting to its bedside application.

In short, translational research aims to translate findings in fundamental research into medical and nursing practice and meaningful health outcomes.

Researchers and Clinician-Scientists nationwide face common barriers in clinical and translational research that can delay the development of new interventions for patients in need. These challenges include difficulties in recruiting, mentoring and retaining a critical mass of qualified clinical and translational investigators; increased research costs and complexity; low patient recruitment and retention in clinical research studies; inflexible study designs, and increased regulatory burdens.

The creation of TMC-CTRI will bring in experts in clinical and biomedical research to address relevant health issues and find sustainable solutions through innovative research.

TMC-CTRI will support the innovative flagship programs of The Medical City which include the Institute of Personalized Molecular Medicine, Liver Center, Cancer Center and other clinical centers that are constantly finding ways to speed discoveries from bench to bedside.

It will also seek research partnerships and collaborative work in both local and international research institutions and institutions of higher learning.  Basic and translational biomedical researches can be structured based on the current unmet medical needs, from diagnostics to therapeutic researches such as on new chemical entities {NCE’s}, biologics and cellular therapeutics.

While TMC-CTRI believes in the diversity of knowledge and the explosion of scientific disciplines, the institute feels that, it is time that such wide ranging expertise would have to be integrated again into translational discipline.  To achieve this goal, TMC-CTRI will forge research alliances between clinical trialists, Clinician-scientists, MS and PhD holders and biomedical researchers that will serve as the heart of innovation and research translation.

“With TMC’s Institutional Review Board {IRB} reaching Level III accreditation, The Medical City is now poised to venture into providing the haven for relevant and life-saving clinical researches and drug trials for both local and international clienteles,” says Dr. Raul V. Destura, multi-awarded clinician and scientist and director of TMC-CTRI.

The IRB provides independent guidance, advice, competent review and free from bias decision on health research or other specific research projects involving human subjects. This important unit will ensure that patient’s rights and safety are safeguarded at all times.

TMC-CTRI will also integrate the existing network of hospitals, clinics and laboratories of The Medical City and create a “research highway” that is facilitative and research engaging.

TMC is currently the largest healthcare network in the country with one flagship health care complex, four provincial hospitals and over 40 clinics in Metro Manila and in select provinces in the Philippines.

It has taken its brand into the global arena through the ownership and operation of Guam Regional Medical City {GRMC}, the first and only private hospital in Guam and the establishment of ambulatory clinics in the Gulf Cooperation Council {GCC} countries.

“True to its mission of keeping the  ‘patient at center stage, service of greater worth,’  TMC-CTRI will use patient’s health and well-being as its universal compass in achieving its goals of providing innovative and state-of-the-art health interventions for the benefit of the Filipino people and beyond,” says Dr. Destura.

The formal launch of TMC-CTRI was held on April 26 at the Augusto Barcelon auditorium of The Medical City in Ortigas, Pasig City. Dr. Eva Cutiongco De La Paz, Vice Chancellor for Research and Executive Director of the National Institute of Health, University of the Philippines – Manila, was the guest speaker.

TMC Senior Vice President for Medical Services Group Dr. Eugenio Jose F. Ramos delivered the welcome remarks while President and CEO Dr. Alfredo R.A. Bengzon congratulated Dr. Destura and his team for this innovation in his closing statement.

The Medical City Offers Non-Invasive Test to Assess Liver Disease

hospital,The Medical City, press release, medical treatment, liver healthMore and more people are suffering from liver disease due to unhealthy diet and lifestyle.The liver is one of the largest and most vital organs and it performs many important jobs, including protein production, changing food into energy and removing toxic or poisonous substances from the blood. One cannot live without a functioning liver. Hence, it goes without saying that we all should take extra measures to ensure the health of our liver in order to live a long and healthy life. 

There are a number of diseases that can injure the liver and stop it from working correctly. One of these is hepatitis or the inflammation of the liver. With hepatitis, the liver stops working well. It can lead to scarring (cirrhosis) or cancer. Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is the most common cause of liver disease in the world.

A person with a liver problem may not be symptomatic in the early stages of the disease. Sometimes the disease may be identified during routine tests for other reasons. However, once liver problems reach a certain point, symptoms will start showing up. The most common symptoms of liver disease include weakness and fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and yellow discoloration of the skin or jaundice.

According to the doctors at The Medical City (TMC) Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation (CLDMT), if you wait for these warning signs or symptoms before caring for your liver, it might be too late. An effective way of keeping track of your health is through regular health screening.

There are also liver function tests which are blood tests that help determine the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, or bilirubin in your blood.

Your doctor may order a liver function test if you’re more likely to have liver damage or disease, like if you are a heavy drinker, or if you come from a family with a history of liver disease, if you are overweight and have diabetes or high blood pressure or if you are taking medicine that can harm your liver.

FibroScan Probe at The Medical City

In 2010, CLDMT introduced the first FibroScan probe in the Philippines. The FibroScan probe is a non-invasive, painless, and speedy alternative to biopsies used for assessing fibrosis, or the formation of scar tissue due to injury or long-term inflammation. The early detection of fibrosis is the key to preventing chronic liver disease, which is associated with conditions such as Hepatitis B, alcoholic liver disease, and fatty liver disease.  Continue reading

The Medical City Unveils Its New Technology For Early Detection Of Lung Cancer

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The Medical City speakers for the day: Dr. Christine Chavez, Dr. Ramy Roxas, and Mr. Roberto Posadas Jr.

The Medical City recently hosted a talk to unveil its latest technology acquisition and I am glad to be part of the occasion. Endobronchial Ultrasound {EBUS} is a state of the art minimally invasive procedure used in lung cancer diagnosis, infections, and other chest inflammatory diseases, it is the first of its kind in the country and The Medical City is the first and the only hospital in the Philippines to offer this kind of procedure.

All about EBUS

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EBUS is a procedure that incorporates ultrasound technology in bronchoscopy. Simply put, with a small video device, it allows bronchoscopists to view lung abnormalities through and beyond the surface of the airways for real-time image guidance during procedures, thereby a higher degree of diagnostic accuracy and safety is possible.

Dr. Christine Chavez, interventional pulmonologist and head of the Lung Unit of The Medical City Center for Cancer Care and Research said that they are expecting to increase detection rates of early stage lung cancer, that may also be salvageable by surgery and has good prognosis with EBUS as an additonal diagnostic option for high-risk patients.

EBUS assists patients and doctors by shortening the time from diagnosis to treatment, and with real-time imaging and ultrasound guidance, doctors can effectively map and evaluate biopsy tumors and lymph nodes.

The Anatomy of Cancers

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world in both men and women with more than one million deaths annually. In the Philippines, it is also the leading cause of death from cancer, with a reported death of 9,184 out of 11,458 cases {for the year 2010}. Most of these cases leading to deaths were detected at a much later stage of cancer, making the treatment all the more difficult and lowering the patient’s chance to survive the illness. Studies show that an estimate of 10,000 deaths from cancer could have been prevented with early diagnosis and treatment.

Colorectal cancer, a cancer that starts in either the colon or the rectum, on the other hand, ranks 4th among cancer-related deaths in Filipinos and recent studies showed that the Philippines has a higher colorectal cancer mortality compared to other countries. The Philippine Cancer Society, Inc statistics shows that about 75% of the people affected were 50 years old and above. It is also estimated that 1 out of 1,800 Filipinos will develop this cancer yearly.

The Importance of Screening and Early Detection

hospital, health services, all about health, cancer treatments and programs, The Medical City

Dr. Chavez stressed the importance of early detection and diagnosis in treating lung cancer. She also stressed the significance of screening people who they termed high risk for the disease. These people are those who have been smokers for a prolonged period of time, those who are exposed to second-hand smoke, and has a lung cancer history in the family. Age, lifestyle or environment, and genetics are the factors medical practitioner take into consideration to determine these high risk individuals.

Dr. Manual Francisco “Ramy” Roxas, head of The Medical City Colorectal Clinic said that with good screening and early diagnosis, 90% of colorectal cancers are curable. A multi-modality treatment that includes chemotherapy, pre-operative radiotherapy, and surgery, are also responsible in improving colorectal cancer outcomes. Continue reading