LATEST UPDATES » Vol 22, No 12, December 2018 – The story of WeDoctor - The medical service system for tomorrow       » World's first unmanned clinic in China       » International outcry over world's first gene-edited babies born in China       » More HIV-positive foreigners enter China       » Pain-free childbirth to be promoted in China       » The past, present and future of life science      
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Vol 22, No 04, April 2018
Editor's Letter
Take a gut look

Discovering the digestive health advancements of the 21st century
by Pearly Neo

Vol 22, No 03, March 2018
Editor's Letter
Empowering nutrition via biotechnology

In the midst of an ever-increasing global population, how can biotechnology address emerging nutritional issues? By Pearly Neo

Feeding Asia's children

Asia is home to nearly two-thirds of the world's malnourished, with an estimated 87 million children under the age of five stunted. This article discusses the current trends and insights on Asia's nutrition landscape, including what needs to be done to address the challenges for low to middle income groups, especially children. By Dr Femke Hannes

Vol 22, No 02, February 2018
Editor's Letter
Ageing in the age of science

What does it mean to age in the accompaniment of science and technology? By Pearly Neo

Assistive technology: a benison for the disabled and elderly

New developments in the medical community have always contributed to the welfare of the geriatric population and differently abled citizens. The matter of fact that the ability and feasibility of elders to cope up with their feeble health at home settings has been a pain point for years. Safety is another critical factor that has added to the woes of the developers of such systems. However, recent advances in assistive technology has been a silver lining for the distressed. Garima Chandra and Soumya Das elaborate on this.

Vol 22, No 01, January 2018
Editor's Letter
Keep the weight off, keep diabetes at bay

In a breakthrough in diabetes research, study shows that a strict low-calorie diet can beat the condition without drugs.

Tackling obesity in ASEAN

Country profiles of the prevalence, impact, and interventions on obesity in six ASEAN countries.

Vol 21, No 12, December 2017
Editor's Letter
New hope for butterfly children

Epidermolysis bullosa is a genetic disease which causes severe skin damage. There is no cure for it and about four in 10 patients do not reach adolescence. Recently, in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a research team from Salzburg developed an ointment for the treatment of butterfly children. In Germany, a boy was given a new genetically modified skin that covered 80% of his body, in a series of lifesaving operations. Read on to find out the advances in the treatment of this genetic disease.

Living with food allergy

Allergies exist in many different forms and they can be induced by the environment, drugs, food, and others. These allergens can trigger an allergic reaction, requiring clinical care by a physician or a health care professional. Let's hear from Catherine Ong, who talks about her own encounter with a food allergy.

Vol 21, No 11, November 2017
Editor's Letter
Getting to the root of the problem

Dental caries in children can be aggressive if it is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Dr Bien Lai Wen Pui says early dental visit at age one and preventive advice for parents are recommended before dental caries occur.

Millions of newborn infants in Western Pacific still at risk

A newborn dies every two minutes in the Western Pacific Region, largely due to inappropriate clinical practices at the time of birth, and during the first few days of life. Newborn deaths, however, are often preventable. Essential Newborn Care is a solution to significantly reduce newborn deaths.

Deciphering molecular clues to paediatric urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infections in children, and being able to identify patients with UTI who are at risk of kidney damage at an early stage is key to the development of better approaches to treatment and prevention, says A/Prof Chao Sing Ming.

Vol 21, No 10, October 2017
Editor's Letter
A matter of the heart

APBN talks to Assoc Prof Philip Wong to get insights on a potential drug treatment for high-risk patients dying from sudden cardiac death.

Discovering opportunities in China's cardiovascular market

China has one of the world's most complicated and regulated healthcare industries. Jelte Wingender gives insights on China's cardiovascular drug and device market and the outcome of their healthcare reforms.

Improving outcomes and expanding indications with Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

The narrowing of the aortic valve comes with aging and open heart surgery is often the conventional method to treat this. But for elderly patients and those with debilitating diseases, the surgical risk for open heart surgery is high. Dr Paul Chiam shares a minimally invasive method termed TAVI and the efficacy and safety of this method.

Community-based cardiac rehabilitation in Singapore

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programmes for patients after a cardiac episode or heart surgery, have been shown to improve patient outcomes like reducing mortality and as such, CR is an important avenue to deliver effective preventive care. The benefits of CR have been reviewed extensively in Western countries, but the impact of Singapore's CR programme on clinical outcomes have not been known until last year. Tay Hung Yong shares the findings.

The gift of life: 50 years of human heart transplant

On 3 December 1967, Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first human heart transplant on 53-year-old Louis Washkansky at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

Vol 21, No 09, September 2017
Editor's Letter
Antivirals Targeting Host Proteins: A Feasible or Suicidal Approach in the Treatment Against HFMD?

Justin Jang Hann Chu and Tian Sheng Lew discussed the pros and cons of developing antivirals that target crucial host factors.

Vaccination against Infectious Diseases More Important than Ever

by Dr T. Anh Wartel, Regional Medical Expert for Dengue in Asia Pacific at Sanofi Pasteur

Mosquito-borne infectious diseases: Crafting an Asian solution

Asia has the highest incidence of dengue in the world. The fight against mosquito-borne diseases in Asia is at a critical moment in time says Dr Benjamin Rolfe.

The Ebola Epidemic: Why So Many Deaths Resulted

The major countries affected by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, were among the most ill-equipped to deal with such a large scale epidemic. Much misunderstanding between response staff and affected communities hindered help as well.

Vol 21, No 08, August 2017
Editor's Letter
Current and Emerging Diagnostic and Therapeutic Developments in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is characterized by aging changes in the retina, the presence of drusen and a thin choroid. AMD accounts for 8.7% of blindness worldwide and is the most common cause of blindness in developed countries in the elderly.1 Due to an increasing aging population, it is projected that AMD will affect 196 million people in 2020, increasing to 288 million in 2040.1 AMD can...

International Collaborative Research Program focusing on Aging

The future of our health system depends on having a critical mass of researchers with the international knowledge necessary to meet current challenges. Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) have tremendous strengths, including the relative strength of our strong research base. To further strengthen our basic science research, we are working together with...

Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA)

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is now a common imaging technique used in our ophthalmology practice, especially to evaluate anterior segment and corneal conditions.1 Recently, we were the first to describe the adaptation of OCT technology to provide static angiography images for the cornea and anterior segment.2 Angiography for the anterior segment has a variety of clinical applications, such as...

Clinical Trials in our Real World

Physicians are constantly inundated with new clinical trials purporting benefits of a new therapy or treatment regime. Consider the treatment of exudative age related macular degeneration (AMD) with anti-vascular endothelial growth factors (anti-VEGF), for example. Numerous clinical trials including ANCHOR1, MARINA2, CATT3, VIEW4 and many more have promised visual gains of 7-8 letters. Yet when...

Ophthalmology Workforce Planning and Projection — A New Integrated Approach

Health administrators and their human resource teams are often plagued with the difficult task of a timely assessment of future needs for the healthcare workforce. Healthcare forms a large proportion of the national budget in many countries, with healthcare manpower costs amounting to 60-70 percent of the healthcare budget. The size of the health workforce directly influences population health...

Vol 21, No 07, July 2017
Editor's Letter
Future Foods for Health: Innovations in Dietary Modifications for Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects 415 million people in the world today. This number is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040. In Singapore, the Ministry of Health has declared a "War on Diabetes". Major efforts will be made over the next 2-3 years to develop and deploy programs to prevent diabetes, and improve the care of patients with diabetes with a focus on optimizing care in a sustainable manner...

Kosmode Health: Technology that Expands Access to Health from Nature

Consumers today do not just want food. Yes! not even healthy food. They want food that keep them healthy i.e. functional food. Neither do consumers want supplements, they are demanding plant-based supplements. Consumers are speaking with their wallets, paying top dollars for quality plant based products, driving the rapid growth of the multi-billion dollar phytochemical nutraceutical industry...

Halal Certified Food: Processing, Technology and Regulations

How is 'Halal' defined? How is the process to certify food as Halal? Halal is the Arabic word for 'permissible' or 'lawful.' When used in the context of food, 'halal' refers to food that is permissible according to Islamic law or Sharia law. The strict scrutiny prohibits any food product that contains pork or is contaminated by any by-products that are porcine sourced, like gelatin or emulsifiers. It also...

Vol 21, No 06, June 2017
Editor's Letter
Shire Championing the Cause for Patients with Rare Diseases

Rare diseases are highly complex and over 50% of rare diseases begin in childhood. 30% of children born with a rare disease are unlikely to see their 5th birthday [1,2]. Some examples of rare diseases are hemophilia, Gaucher disease, Hunter syndrome, Pompe disease, and so forth. Today, the majority of rare diseases are still unknown and yet to be fully understood. Through its sharp focus on rare diseases...

ASEAN+ Rare Disease Network: Unifying Voices of Patients

Rare diseases are complex and only 5% of 7,000 rare diseases have treatment approved by FDA. Affecting 350 million people worldwide, it is estimated that 50% of rare diseases begin in childhood [1]. Those affected by rare diseases do not receive a lot of attention. So how then can we help them effectively? We don't have the answer yet but the newly formed ASEAN+ Rare Disease Network seems...

Rainbow Across Borders

Formed in 2015, Rainbow Across Borders (RAB) aims to improve the quality of life of, and give dignity to, patients and families challenged by chronic or life-threatening illnesses. RAB is Asia's first regional patient support group alliance which promotes regional collaboration and networking among patient support organisations with the aim to empower the organisations through appropriate programmes...

Genetic Counselling Services in Malaysia

Medical genetic services started 10 years ago in Malaysia. Currently, there are five health centres (1 public hospital, 3 university hospitals and 1 private hospital) which provide medical genetic services in the health care system. Two senior clinical geneticists from the public hospital provide genetic service as an outreach service to five other public hospitals in different states in Malaysia. The Genetic...

Vol 21, No 05, May 2017
Editor's Letter
microRNAs in Huntington's disease

Huntington's disease (HD) is a human inheritable autosomal dominant disease, and this disease is caused by a mutation of CAG trinucleotide repeats in exon 1 region of Huntingtin (HTT) gene (1993). In principle, the longer of CAG trinucleotide repeats, the more severe the HD. As a result, expression of mutant HTT leads to toxic gain-of-function, forming cytotoxicity inside cells (Li and Li 2004, Yang and...

Spatiotemporal Control of Hox Genes by microRNA

Hox genes have been extensively studied for more than 30 years. Although it is well-known that Hox genes are essential to the specification of spinal motor neuron subtype identities along the rostrocaudal axis, it remains unclear how the Hox genes are precisely regulated to achieve their collinear spatiotemporal expression. In collaboration with Prof. Qing Nie from the Mathematics Department of...

REVIVE Your Brain

Very often, people put efforts in maintaining their physical health and appearance, but neglect the fact that the brain ages together with the body. At a cellular level, the brain begins to age when we are in our early twenties. When brain cells age, their ability to communicate effectively with one another decreases, causing our cognitive and memory skills to decline naturally. As such, the brain requires...

Vol 21, No 04, April 2017
Editor's Letter
Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a long-term condition in which the blood glucose levels of a person remain persistently higher than normal. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your body cells to use blood glucose (sugar) for energy. Food is converted into glucose before it is absorbed...

Prediabetes: The Gap between the Onset of Disease and Initiation of Treatment

The global shift from communicable to chronic, noncommunicable diseases, including the increasing prevalence of obesity, prediabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) creates a considerable challenge to the clinician and public health infrastructure. Despite substantial research efforts highlighting the considerable benefit of lifestyle modification in thwarting the insidious progression to...

Diabetes: A Dietitian's Perspective

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition that affects the way your body uses glucose as energy from food. People with diabetes have a high level of glucose in their blood. This is due to either insufficient insulin being produced by the pancreas or body not accepting insulin it produces, called insulin resistance, or a combination of both. The other reason is that the body does not produce insulin...

Use of Modelling for Better Diabetes Care

About 75 million people in Southeast Asia have diabetes mellitus (DM), a group of metabolic diseases caused by defects in insulin secretion or action. DM patients face higher risk of long-term complications such as damage to their vital organs - heart, eyes and kidneys - and nerve damage (neuropathy) [1]. The burden of this disease is getting heavier as the number of people in Southeast Asia with DM is...

No More Highs and Lows with Toujeo®: A New and Improved Insulin Injection

Sanofi has launched Toujeo®, a new generation innovative basal insulin designed to improve diabetic patient treatment experience. This long acting insulin is used to control blood glucose level in adults who have Type 1 (T1D) or Type 2 diabetes (T2D), and has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore as of February 2017. Diabetes is a condition where the sugar level in...

Vol 21, No 03, March 2017
Editor's Letter
Can Chinese Medicine and Biomedicine Converge?

The eminent and iconoclastic physician William Osler famously said: "The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease." [1] Osler held the Regius Chair for medicine at Oxford and was a founder of Johns Hopkins Medical School in America. He would have received positive endorsement from traditional practitioners of Chinese medicine who, though...

Integrative Medicine: East Meets West

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" [1]. This definition has remained unchanged since 7 April 1948. In this era of evidence based medicine, precision medicine and personalized medicine, how does one strive to achieve optimal health as defined by WHO? The key...

Ginseng: Nature's "Cure-All"

It is one of the most well-known and widely-researched herbs when it comes to traditional Chinese Medicine. There are several evidence-based benefits for one's well-being that some even refer to ginseng as a natural cure-all. It is considered as an adaptogen, which means it helps with mental and physical stress. Western medicine practitioners, however, don't necessarily believe this is always the...

Vol 21, No 02, February 2017
Editor's Letter
Cancer in Women - Trends in Singapore

In November 2016, two reports highlighted the gravity of cancer trends in women worldwide. The American Cancer Society conducted an analysis [1] that concluded a 60% increase in cancer deaths (5.5 million per year) in women was expected by 2030 - it now kills 1 in 7 women (3.5 million in 2012), the 2nd highest cause of death after cardiovascular disease. The Lancet paper [2] estimated a doubling in...

Impact of Subsidies on Genetic Testing Uptake in Singapore: Is it Feasible?

Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in Singapore [1,2], a similar pattern is observed in other Asian countries and the world. Cancer is the uncontrolled proliferation of cells that arises due to the accumulation of mutations in genes that regulate the cell cycle. Identifying the factors that cause or drive mutations is often the focus of much cancer research and the findings of which help inform...

The Future of Radiation Oncology

Researchers have long recognised that although termed the same way, each individual cancer is distinct and unique. For oncologists, the quest to personalise treatments is more important than ever. In the ideal future state of radiation therapy treatment, a newly diagnosed cancer patient would first undergo a tumour radiosensitivity assay to estimate the tumour's response to radiation. Based on the patient's...

Targeted Therapies in Oncology: Where We Are and What Lies Ahead

"Cancer's life is a recapitulation of the body's life, its existence a pathological mirror of our own"- renowned physician Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee eloquently describes cancer's intricate identity. Interestingly, this similarity also forms the fundamental challenge in cancer therapies - the ability to kill cancer cells vs normal cells. Traditional chemotherapy drugs that attack rapidly dividing cancer cells...

Vol 21, No 01, January 2017
Editor's Letter
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - COPD

When breathing, we inhale air into our lungs down the bronchial tubes that branch out into many smaller tubes called bronchioles. At the end of those are alveoli: the round elastic sacs that contain air and allow the capillaries to run through their walls and collect the vital oxygen that will then continue its journey in our bloodstream. The oxygen in the alveoli is exchanged against carbon dioxide, the organic...

Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the tissues of the lungs, usually in cells lining the air passages. [1] It starts when the cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, eventually spreading to other parts of the body. There are two main types of lung cancer - non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC), with the former constituting about 80 - 85% of lung cancers...

WCLC 2016: Discussions on Lung Cancer

IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) 2016 was held in Vienna, Austria from December 4-7, 2016. It is the world's largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, and attracts more than 6,000 researchers, physicians, and specialists from over 100 countries. Results of various clinical drug trials that showed a reduction in risk of disease progression among...

Vol 20, No 12, December 2016
Editor's Letter
Scanning the Future of Medical Imaging

Over the last five decades, medical imaging has repeatedly transformed medicine. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and computed tomography (CT) scans have changed how physicians measure, manage, diagnose, treat, and even think about medical illnesses and conditions. Technological innovations have also made imaging faster, more precise and...

Putting Numbers into Biology: The Combination of Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy and Fluorescence Spectroscopy

The development of light microscopy is closely linked to requirements in the biological sciences. The invention of the optical microscope made the observation of the intricate organization of biological organisms possible for the first time. Since then, each new development in modern microscopy, including phase contrast, fluorescence and confocal microscopy, brought biologists closer to their...

Abyss Processing - Exploring the Deep in Medical Images

Medical imaging is a non-invasive method for clinicians to understand what is happening deep inside our body. The most common medical imaging techniques include MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computed Tomography), X-Ray, Ultrasound (US), Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), etc. One of the biggest advantages of OCT [1] and US [2] over the other techniques includes its cost effectiveness...

Vol 20, No 11, November 2016
Editor's Letter
From Home to Hospital: Digitisation of Healthcare

John Williams, a 54-year-old man with a heart condition, narrates his story: I had been having some indigestion issues since last night. I wondered if the culprit was my dinner of rib-eye steak and the two beers that I consumed along with it. I was not feeling that well so I opted to work at home. Grateful that I could access my emails through a portal, I was browsing through when I felt a sharp pain in my chest...

Microsoft with RingMD, Oneview Healthcare, Vital Images, Aruba, and Clinic to Cloud: The Ecosystem of Healthcare Solutions Providers in Asia

APBN was recently invited to experience "the Future of the Patient Journey with Microsoft & various partners" in the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on 28th September 2016. The atmosphere was bustling with the latest technology and innovation at the Microsoft Asia Booth where we were given the exciting opportunity to a walkthrough on how Microsoft works with its partners to provide...

Data Helps in Improving Nursing Practice, Making Better Decisions

We can't imagine a world without nurses - it will be chaos everywhere in hospitals and other medical workplaces. They work together with clinicians, facilitating treatment and delivery of patient care. They are the ones on the frontline of healthcare services, saving countless lives and helping people as much as doctors do. Nowadays, there is a lot more intention around leveraging big data to...

Launch of Asian Branch for QuintilesIMS Institute

The recently renamed QuintilesIMS Institute (previously IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics) is a global research platform that strives to shape and drive tomorrow's healthcare industry. Its strategy is based on information and data-driven solutions, where the productive use of big data lies at the heart. Recently, more focus has been given to decision modelling...

Vol 20, No 10, October 2016
Editor's Letter
Experience a Top Notch Medical Treatment & Hotel Stay... All in One @Farrer Park Hospital

(Through a Patient's Lens): I disembark from my car with ease, onto my wheelchair. Each individual carpark is spatially designed for ease of manoeuvring. Wheeling into Farrer Park Hospital, my spirits are immediately alleviated by the gentle floral scent wafting in the air. It reminds me of the aroma of a hotel or a posh shopping mall. The warm secular design tones of my surroundings make me comfortable and...

Providing the Personal Touch in Medical Tourism

Singapore is well known as a medical tourism centre in the region. High standards of medical care, a large pool of specialists in diverse fields and state-of-the art medical facilities are some of the factors that have been drawing patients from Asia and beyond into the country since the 1980s. This has meant brisk business for private hospitals like Mt Elizabeth and Gleneagles. However...

Hospitality Bridging Healthcare (H2H)©: Medical Tourism and Wellness

This article looks at the merging of hospitality, wellness and medical practices. Hospitality Bridging Healthcare or H2H is a natural progression, as today's savvy consumers seek timely information about their health and wellness, medical care and the quality of the service they want to experience...

Vol 20, No 09, September 2016
Editor's Letter
Cervical Cancer is Highly Preventable. Don't Succumb to It.

"99.6% of cervical cancer can be prevented, and should be eradicated like smallpox." Dr. Chia Yin Nin, a gynaecological oncologist at Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, emphasised passionately during our interview. With relatives who have suffered from cancer diseases, Dr. Chia had always dreamed of becoming a doctor to help people and to find a cure for cancer from a young age. She is also currently...

Do Your Part to Stop Infectious Disease from Spreading: Insights from Infectious Diseases Expert-Dr. Leong Hoe Nam

Influenza viruses are divided into three types: influenza virus A, influenza virus B and influenza virus C, based on antigenic differences in their structural proteins. Influenza C viruses cause very mild infections whereas influenza A and B viruses are responsible for seasonal flu. Influenza A viruses are further classified into subtypes according to the properties of their major antigens...

Infectious Diseases in Asia Pacific: Top Five Targets for Prophylaxis Vaccines

The value of vaccines - in terms of preventing suffering, controlling outbreaks and eradicating virulent strains in the health care systems - is enormous. Unfortunately, the availability and use of prophylaxis vaccines in Asia Pacific is less than optimal for various reasons. Drawing from available literature, Quintiles' data and our experiences in helping companies develop new and better vaccines...

Vol 20, No 08, August 2016
Editor's Letter
High-Throughput Sequencing on a Next Generation Sequencer to Identify Specific Binders from a Phage Library

In recent decades, many antibody therapeutics have been developed for the clinical treatment of cancer, auto immune diseases, and infectious diseases. Initially, these antibodies were mainly developed by the humanization of murine antibodies produced by hybridomas. Although new technologies for producing human antibodies, such as trans-chromo mice with human immunoglobulin loci and...

Antibody Solution Viscosity and Intermolecular Interactions: Considerations for Development of Highly Concentrated Formulations

In recent years, a dramatic increase in the demand for highly concentrated antibody formulations have been observed. This is due to the increasing interest in reducing burden on patients and medical professionals, which in turn is driving the shift from antibody formulations for intravenous toward subcutaneous administration. While intravenous injections should be performed by a qualified...

Display of Membrane Proteins on a Viral Envelope for Antibody Generation

Membrane proteins are a major drug target in cancer immunotherapy. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against membrane proteins on target cells have attracted growing attention as a specific probe for drug delivery systems to these proteins [1, 2]. The major cancer immunotherapy target membrane proteins are thus far, cell surface receptors or adhesion molecules...

Sequence and Structural Determinants of Antigen Binding in Antibody CDR Loops

The complementary determining regions (CDRs) of antibodies play a key role in antigen recognition. The contribution of each of the six CDR loops to antigen recognition is different from each other, and even within a single CDR loop, each residue position plays a different role in antigen binding [1, 2]. Therefore, it is necessary to characterize the sequence and structural properties of...

Enhancement of the Stability of Single Chain Fv Molecules with the Amino Acid Substitutions Predicted by High-Performance Computer

A single chain variable fragment (scFv) is a kind of fusion protein keeping the function of immunoglobulin, i.e., high affinity and high specificity to an antigen. ScFv usually consists of variable regions of immunoglobulin, composed of heavy (H) and light (L) chains, and a short linker connecting the regions. Because mass-weight of scFv is smaller than that of antigen-binding fragment (Fab)...

Thermal Stability of Camelid Single Domain VHH Antibody

VHH antibody is a variable domain of camelid heavy-chain antibody and the smallest antigen binding formats that originates from a natural mammalian antibody [1, 2]. The VHH antibodies has a number of distinctive features as compared to conventional immunoglobulin G (IgG), and their excellent stability is especially emphasized in many literatures. The term "protein stability" includes...

Vol 20 No 07, July 2016
Editor's Letter
Investing in Technology for Water Sustainability

Singapore's unique water environment requires innovative solutions, and research and development (R&D) has been the key to achieving a robust, affordable and sustainable water supply. With water demand expected to more than double by 2060, continual investment in R&D to seek more cost-effective and efficient ways of treating, recycling and supplying water is vital, especially in light of challenges such as climate change, rising energy costs, population growth and increasing urbanisation...

Water Policy Response to Water Scarcity and Future Climate Change Impacts

Water Scarcity is a multifaceted phenomenon. The most common measure of scarcity is the quantity of water that is available for consumption per capita. But water scarcity may have several other matrices by which it is measured. For example, polluted water may make it unsuitable for consumption; fluctuation of water supply (e.g., variability of precipitation) may make water planning hard to impossible; and inadequate infrastructure (e.g., lack of storage, deteriorated conveyance system) may lead to losses of water resources that otherwise could be consumed...

Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS): An Opportunity for the SE Asian Aquaculture Industry

A recent study by the World Bank stated that aquaculture is a major sector that is still expanding and receiving considerable attention as a way to fill the growing seafood supply gap which is estimated to have increased to 30 million tonnes by 2030. However, aquaculture cannot be practised everywhere; it requires a unique set of natural, social and economic resources, which must be utilised wisely for the development of the sector to be sustainable...

Vol 20 No 06, June 2016
Editor's Letter
Bone Healing from Within

People are living longer than ever before because of advancements in medical technology and the public's increased understanding of how to live healthier. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, at least two in every five persons will be aged 60 years or older. East Asian countries are leading this segment, followed by Southeast Asia and South Asia. And, as economically advanced countries like...

How Technology Helps in Care Coordination: Telehealth?

What is Philips' future plan and commitment in terms of digital health in Singapore? Philips' vision is to improve the lives of three billion people a year by 2025. We understand that Asia's healthcare industry is facing several challenges and pressures today, including an ageing population, rising chronic diseases and lack of hospital beds. We believe that technology and digital health will play a fundamental role in...

Soft Wearable Machines for Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation

Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability, whereby 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year and nearly a third of them are left permanently disabled [1]. Post-stroke neurological impairment often leads to paralysis of one side of the patient's body, which can affect his/her ability to perform basic activities of daily living, such as grasping household items [2]. This inability to...

Technology Can Help Patients Find Doctors and Share Medical Data

The healthcare industry has proven to be one of the most resistant among verticals to adopting technology as far as discovery and delivery of healthcare services is concerned. In the last ten years, there had been no significant change in the way people experienced healthcare, despite that science around developing drugs had gotten better, and there were more hospitals and clinics being built...

Seizing Opportunity in Asia-Pacific's Complex and Rapidly Changing Medical Device Market

Asia-Pacific is the world's fastest growing biopharmaceutical market - a diverse "market of markets" that holds great potential because of its expanding economies, huge and growing population, and vast number of patients with poorly met or unmet medical needs. The region's potential for medical device development and commercialisation is no exception. But even more so than in biopharma development...

How Logistics Technology Can Treat Tomorrow's Life Sciences & Healthcare Complications

The life sciences & healthcare (LSH) sector is undergoing rapid changes. Today, the global pharmaceuticals market is worth US$300 billion a year, a figure expected to rise to US$400 billion within three years [1]. The medical devices market is going strong as well - its value will reach a projected US$398 billion by 2017 [2].As the LSH industry reaches new heights, it also has to deal with new challenges...

Vol 20, No 05, May 2016
Editor's Letter
A Glimpse into Healthcare Policies: How Cancer Control and Prevention Programmes Have Evolved Across Asia:
Understanding Healthcare Policies in the Philippines: Cancer Care

We had an interview with Assistant Secretary of Health from the Philippines, Dr. Gerardo V. Bayugo, at the Healthcare Forum: War on Cancer 2016... The Department of Health (DOH) utilises various approaches in promoting the different health programs and policies within the country. In crafting policies, we ensure that relevant medical specialty societies, non-government organisations...

Healthcare Systems and Health Policies in Thailand: Cancer Care

As one of the speakers for keynote panel discussion of The Price of Policy at Healthcare Forum: War on Cancer, Dr. Pannet Pangputhipong shared about the healthcare systems and cancer control policies in Thailand. Dr. Pangputhipong has been assigned to supervise Thailand's National Cancer Institute and Regional Cancer Hospitals which responsible for Cancer Control, Cancer Care and Policy Advocacy...

Cancer Care and Control in Taiwan: An Interview with Dr. Shu-Ti Chiou

Taiwan set a good example by having efficient cancer care & control programmes to cope with the growing cancer burden in the country. We invited Dr. Chiou Shu-Ti, to share insights on how Taiwan government manages cancer care & control effectively...

An Interview with Professor Myint Han: Healthcare in Myanmar

There are 51 million people in Myanmar, and 70% of them live in rural areas. It is extremely important that we act fast to improve accessibility and affordability of healthcare services. In the past 5 years, we have increased national healthcare budget for cancer control to address the issues, specifically around prevention...

Vol 20 No 04, April 2016
Editor's Letter
Fighting Cancer with Immunotherapy

Every year, on the first weekend of June, tens of thousands of cancer specialists will gather in Chicago, Illinois to listen and share the latest advances in cancer management. In year 2015, the buzzword that kept resounding in the colossal halls was "immunotherapy"...

21st Century Cancer Warfare: A Glimpse into the Operations of a Modern Radiotherapy Unit

Modern warfare has become highly complex over the past century, driven by advancements in strategies and technology as well as nations' incessant drive to stay ahead of the game. In a similar fashion, the war against cancer has reached new heights in the 21st century. However, unlike the zero-sum game in human conflict, the cumulative pool of scientific discovery coupled with...

Is Colorectal Carcinomas due to 'Bad Luck' or Is It Preventable?

Colorectal Carcinomas (CRC) is the leading cancer in the developed world. In Singapore, it is the most frequent cancer for men and women combined and the second leading cause of cancer mortality. [1] A recent statistical study on the etiology of cancer has attributed cancer incidence to lifetime tissue specific progenitor or stem cell divisions...

Asian Point of View on Cancer

Cancer is an ancient disease, first described in humans in the Egyptian Edwin Smith Papyrus dated to the 17th century BCE [1]. Consequently, the research of cancer has been conducted for thousands of years with the earliest theory of cancer articulated by Hippocrates...

Improving Overall Survival in Hepatocellular Carcinoma through a Multi-Disciplinary Approach: Intra-Tumoral Heterogeneity, Immunology and the Promise of Better Outcomes

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the 6th most common cancer in the world and is diagnosed in more than a million new patients a year. It is however the 2nd most important cause of cancer death [1] and the 3rd most important cancer in Asia [2-4]. Surgery is potentially curative in early HCC which...

Cancer of the Cervix - Can It be Prevented?

CANCER - a word and disease that strikes pain and fear in everyone and sounds the death knell for those diagnosed with it. From time immemorial, doctors and scientists had tried to find the causes and cures for cancer. The strive towards these ends are still on-going and to date...

Vol 20 No 03, March 2016
Editor's Letter
Novel Topical Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplant Paradigm to Treat Organ Diseases

Somatic stem cells attract great scientific and public interest and have real appeal for tissue repair and regeneration. Hematopoietic cells and mesenchymal stem cells are the two major adult stem cells. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) were initially found in bone marrow by Friedenstein and his colleagues. Subsequent work showed...

The Potential of Stem Cell Therapy for Brain Repair and Regeneration Following Neurotrauma

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major health problem worldwide. Despite improving survival rate after TBI, currently, there is no effective treatment to improve neural structural repair and functional recovery of TBI survivors. Neural regeneration either through stimulating endogenous neural stem cells or through stem cell transplantation has gained...

Liver Regeneration Enables Miracle of Liver Transplantation

The liver is a unique organ due to its ability to regenerate after injury or partial removal. This special quality of the liver has been described as far back in history as ancient Greek mythology, in the story of Prometheus. [1] Prometheus, whose name means "Forethinker", was a powerful Titan, known as the supreme trickster and god of fire. He has been credited...

Vol 20 No 02, February 2016
Editor's Letter
The Human Biomedical Research Act: Overview and International Comparisons

Regulatory regimes for research such as the 'Common Rule' (US federal regulations governing research involving human subjects) and the CIOMS Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research are currently being revised, in view of shifts and innovation in research activities and ethics, with the goals of enhancing respect for research subjects and improving research efficiency. In line with these developments...

Tissue banking in Singapore - An Evolving Enterprise

Biobanking of residual human biological materials (HBMs), usually obtained from surgeries, is crucial in biomedical research for the advancement of science and public health. [1] Research results obtained from studies using HBMs improve drug discovery, clinical management and current treatment...

After Ebola, Social Justice as a Base for a Biobanking Governance Framework

About two years ago, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has generated a great number and variety of biological samples. Such samples constitute a valuable, non-renewable resource, and offer a unique opportunity to increase our knowledge of the Ebola virus and its pathogenesis. However, there is no generally agreed plan on how to manage these specimens equitably. This paper argues...

Community Engagement for Biobanking Research: Perspectives from Africa

Recent trends in research governance have seen a review of the role that communities should play, particularly in emerging and innovative research. International guidelines from the Council for International Organisation of Medical Science, the Declaration of Helsinki, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases all stress the importance of early community engagement to ascertain their views on the research and to develop...

Vol 20 No 01, Januray 2016
Editor's Letter
Current State of Microalgae-derived Biofuels and Bioproducts Research in South Korea: Outcome and Future Direction of Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC)

Critical needs of alternative energy have coerced the South Korean government to actively invest in biomass-based energy development. One such example is to launch Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC), which will receive approximately USD $100 million from Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) for duration of nine years. More than 100 experts from various research fields including...

Medicinal Bioconvergence Research Center: An Integrated Research Platform for Novel Target and Lead Discovery

In 2010, the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) launched the Global Frontier Project, targeted at solving global challenges in major R&D areas. The Medicinal Bioconvergence Research Center (Biocon) was initiated as one of the three projects with the aim to resolve difficulties during the development of novel drug discovery...

BioNano Health Guard Research Center

Global frontier program is Korean government representative research program funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP). The vision of this program is the development of world-class core technologies and the creation of an economic growth. Global frontier program started from 2010 and currently 10 research centers are onto vigorous research work...

Bio-Synergy Research Center: Knowledge-based Systems Biology Platform for Natural Product Engineering

According to the World Population Ageing 2013 Report by the United Nations (UN), population ageing is already a global phenomenon. UN further emphasized the major social and economic consequences, which includes fiscal pressures on social healthcare systems. To cope with this situation, the paradigm of healthcare is shifting from disease 'treatment' to 'prevention'. The convergence of information technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) will...

Brief Introduction to the Project on Systems Metabolic Engineering for Biorefineries

Due to the increasing concerns on climate change, resource limitations and sustainability issues, and to reduce the dependence on fossil resources in petrochemical industry, there have been interests in developing bio-based chemical industry through establishing successful bio-refineries. Microorganisms, corresponding to the chemical plant converting a raw material to a product of interest...

Vol 19, No 12, December 2015
Editor's Letter
COP21- A Health, Technology, Energy, Transportation Agreement

Conference of Parties (COP) 21 also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference shall be the first UN negotiation with the aim to achieve legally binding and universal agreement on climate, to reduce global warming by 2oC, and 5% reduction in greenhouse gases. COP21 will be held at Le Bourget...

Prelude COP21
  • Emissions and Climate Change
    The agenda of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, Paris, 30 November-11 December 2015 has as a principal topic the rate of emissions of greenhouse gases...
  • CO2 and Global Warming: The long-term perspective
    We must hope that the coming COP21 meeting in Paris will recognise that global warming is for the long term, outweighing the general concern about the next few decades.
  • Climate change is Real and Man-Made, but right culprit should be found first
    With the world's leaders meeting to discuss climate change at COP21 in Paris, France, starting from the end of this month, it seems most appropriate to comment on the topic of climate change at this moment. In contrast to being portrayed as a skeptic...
The East Asian Monsoon Rain Belt shifts its Gear. What are the implications for Northern China?

No rain is bad news for farmers, and this phenomenon is documented to be true over the last decade in northern China. Scientists from the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing published...

From Concrete Walls to Code Green

Self-discipline and healthy habits are the fundamental key factors to healthy aging and longevity. For those who do not have the habit to take a 20-minute walk after or before their meals, self-discipline will have to lead the way to a change in daily routine. In urbanized landscapes...

The right balance for healthy living for everyone through PLAY: Conversations with Jespersen & Mainella

A stroll in the park instead of going to the pharmacy has become a prescription in the U.S1. Under the D.C. parks prescription program, a growing body of scientific evidence that many of the chronic menaces of city life can be prevented or alleviated by reconnecting with nature...

Nobel Laureates 2015 Chemistry and Physiology & Medicine
Vol 19, No 11, November 2015
Editor's Letter
Smog Free Tower: The Huge Hoover in the City

I magine waking up in the morning and you look out of the window, it is a clear blue sky. When was the last time you breathe in clean air?...

A New Look into Toxicology Risk Assessement and Environmental Safety. Systems Biology Verification – The Toxicology Risk Assessment Network Verification Challenge

Julia Hoeng is Manager of Systems Toxicology at PMI Research & Development where she leads the Systems Biology Program, covering a portfolio of projects in vitro, in vivo and in silico research for product testing...

Effective remedies to the Southeast Asia Transboundary Haze: What’s burning?

It's the time of the year again when we start stocking up on N95 masks. Yes – the haze is back. Southeast Asia is no stranger to the haze particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Transboundary haze has been a serious problem since the 1970s...

The Haze Blanket on your Lungs, the Environment and the Costs.

There are a few elements on this planet that are vital for the existence of mankind and animals, including some species which are at the brink of extinction...

Vol 19, No 10, October 2015
Editor's Letter
ESRI: Amplifying Spatial Awareness via GIS

Tech which brings Healthcare Management, Preventative & Predictive Measures under the same Cloud. Esri is the world leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology. GIS is a powerful spatial analytic tool for hospitals and health systems in areas...

iDA: When it is not just about size, you gotta' be Smart, too!

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes.

MHC Asia: Chew on It!

How Singapore-based Health Informatics Company crunches big-data to uncover your company's health

Dassault Systèmes: Digital tool when well-used, it is Passion

With a soaring global population, vast numbers of people are facing living in cities that are built for much smaller populations with very different needs. This puts our environment at risk....

Carving the Digital Route to Wellness

Transmit your blood sugar results from a digital glucose monitor. Snap a photo of your breakfast to capture calorie intake. Upload your most recent weight reading and record the number of steps walked. Once completed...

Big Data, Bigger Disease Management and Current preparations to manage the Future Health of Singaporeans

Continuous data collection for chronic illness management is crucial to deliver personalized care for patients. In the era of globalization, patients still do not have the right tools to collect and share their physiological information on a frequent, real time basis...

A Conversation with Mr Arun Puri

Arun Puri is currently working as Lead, Web Systems at Quantum Inventions Pte Ltd. He has 15 year experience working in start-ups, or start-up type organisations. He has experience in both sides of the aisle with respect to data; consuming data to create applications and mashups during his earlier ventures...

Health Solutions using Purview by Extreme Networks Health Solutions

Morbidity is an increasing public health concern in the world, and hospitals are depending on technology intelligence from real-time healthcare applications and devices to improve hospital workflows, safety and costings. At HIMSS AsiaPac15 held in Singapore, Mr Bob Zemke, Director of Healthcare Solutions....

Big Data in Clinical Research Sector.

Mr Naz Haji holds a dual role as the Head of India, and SVP and CIO Asia. He joined Quintiles in 2006 as Vice President, Global IT in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, leading Global Infrastructure and Operations....

Vol 19, No 09, September 2015
Editor's Letter

The ASEAN Economic Community — Challenges and Opportunities for Healthcare Companies

Tapping on ASEAN'S Healthcare Opportunities through Singapore by Dr Derrick Tan

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a geo-political and economic organisation comprising of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Established in 1967...

ASEAN - The New Playing Field for Global Medical Device Companies by Cecelia Zhou

In the last decade, many global medical device companies have invested heavily in the emerging markets of China and India. These companies have subsequently benefited ...

The Burden of Great Potential: the ASEAN Economic Community & Biopharmaceuticals by Dr Ross Horsburgh

The story of biopharmaceutical research and development in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is one of the great, but as-yet unfulfilled potential. Over the past 30 years, the ASEAN region has evolved from a high-risk frontier of research...

Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community on the Region's Healthcare Market by Dr Umapathy Panyala

The formation of the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC is a major initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It seeks to integrate Southeast Asia's diverse economies into a single market and production base...

Vol 19, No 08, August 2015
Editor's Letter

Are BIOFUELS the next Energy-Giant and Are More Renewable Energy Sources Required to Turn those Bureaucratic Cogwheels?

Biogas beats Bioethanol by Prof. Wolfgang Bauer

The purpose of all biofuel production is to harvest the energy provided by solar radiation and use it to displace fossil fuels and their associated pollution and greenhouse gas load. Liquid or gaseous biofuels can be generated from organic waste...

Molecular Marvel: A Novel Catalyst greases the wheels of Biofuel production by Gabrielle Bauer

Depending on how many years separate you from your last chemistry class, you may or may not remember the definition of a catalyst; a compound that facilitates a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction...

Vol 19, No 07, July 2015
Editor's Letter
MERS-CoV: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus The new zoonotic viral pneumonia which appears to originate from camels in the Middle East, also known as Camel Flu. The first animal-to-human case was reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. This infectious disease has spread across many countries and nationalities including Korea, United States, Thailand, etc.

An interview with delegate Professor Jiang ShiBo

Professor Jiang received his Ph.D. at the Furth Military Medical University and postdoctoral training in Rockefeller University. From 1990 to 2010, he was appointed as the Head of Laboratory at the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute of the New York Blood Center. In 2010, Jiang was awarded as a scholar "One-Thousand- Talents", and he later joined Shanghai Medical School, Fudan University.

An interview with Dr. Michael Whitt

Dr. Whitt is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis, Tennessee. His expertise is molecular virology, with a particular focus on the cell biology of virus entry, replication and assembly of - negative-strand RNA viruses.

Shantou University Medical College (SUMC) made the first debut as the Chaozhou Obstetrics Training School, 1924. When Shantou University was established in 1981 by Mr Lee Ka-shing, the medical school was founded as the medical college, and now it is known as SUMC. The medical school offers two medical programmes; English-taught and Mandarin MBBS programme. The medical programmes are approved by the Ministry of Education in China, and elite medical students enjoy full tuition grants.

A conversation with Dean Professor Bian Junhui

Dr. Junhui Bian graduated from the 8-year medical program at Peking Union Medical College in 1987 and worked as a researcher at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. In 1988, he was admitted into the Ph.D program of University of Maryland School of Medicine on a full scholarship and was awarded the Ph.D degree in Biochemistry in 1993. Subsequently, he served as a postdoctoral fellow, assistant professor, associate professor and professor at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Parke- Davis Pharmaceutical Research (A Warner-Lambert Company, now Pfizer), Abilene Christian University, and Shantou University Medical College respectively.

Vol 19, No 06, June 2015
Editor's Letter

Generating and supporting start-up biotech companies

Partnering For Success -Mr Johnson Chen Founder and Managing Director Clearbridge BioMedics

ClearCell FX System: It is well known that the healthcare start-up journey is particularly difficult and challenging. This is because biotech entrepreneurs face tougher challenges such as long product development cycles, stringent regulatory hurdles, time-consuming clinical trials, need for multidisciplinary R&D teams and significant capital requirements. For any medtech company, establishing the right partnership is not only useful but vital to achieve success.

Endofotonics: From Technology Innovation to Start-Up Venture by Associate Professor Hwang Zhi-Wei, Professor Ho Khek-Yu

The journey from innovation to commercialization is filled with relentless challenges. It is even more so for bootstrapped academia-based innovation ventures. Hence, the unveiling of the start-up medical technology company, Endofotonics Pte. Ltd. in Singapore on 26th Aug 2013 was more than just a seminal moment for its founders, Associate Professor Hwang Zhi-Wei, and Professor Ho Khek-Yu, both from the National University of Singapore.

Generating the Pipeline of Biotech Start-Ups Participants of the LLP program in 2015 by Ms Susan Kheng Associate Director, LeanLaunchPad@SG, NUS Industry Liaison Office (ILO)

In order to help move research out of the labs and into the commercial marketplace, NUS Enterprise has taken cues from a successful commercialization program in the US, known as "I-Corps" by the National Science Foundation (NSF). "The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) - a program to take the most promising research projects in American university laboratories and turn them into startups.."

AYOXXA with A Clear Vision towards Ophthalmology by Dr. Marion Lammertz, Marketing Manager Communications Global Commercial Operations; AYOXXA Biosystems GmbH

AYOXXA is a spin-off from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with operations in Cologne, Germany and Singapore. It has invented a unique bead-based protein multiplexing technology which yields about 10.000-fold more data-points than a standard ELISA. It allows simultaneous detection of multiple analytes in pg/mL concentrations, requiring very little sample volumes (3µL). Development of the system was spearheaded by Dr. Dieter Trau Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2010.

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APBN Editorial Calendar 2018
Obesity / Outlook for 2018
Searching for the fountain of youth
Women in Science - Making a difference
Digestive health in the 21st century - Trust your guts
Dental health - The root to good health
Cancer - Therapies and strategies for better patient outcomes
Water management - Technologies for biotech and pharmaceutical industries
Regenerative technology - Meat of the future
Doctor Robot - The digital healthcare revolution
Bones / Breast cancer
Liver health / Top science research nations & institutions
AIDS / Breakthrough of the year/Emerging trends
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
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