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EDITOR'S LETTER
A change of heart

From the cover, you can guess this issue of Asia-Pacific Biotech News is talking about what some people term the "love organ" - the heart. Approximately the size of a fist, its functions are paramount, pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body, assists in the removal of metabolic waste, and keeps us alive.

As you already know, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally. CVD like ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, and have remained the leading causes of death worldwide in the last 15 years, accounting for a combined 15 million deaths in 2015. Half of this global CVD burden is predicted to come from the Asia-Pacific region, and this is likely to increase with the booming population, higher prevalence of obesity and other risk factors.

We have a special supplement installed for you in Inside Industry on the findings shared at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2017, held at Barcelona, Spain. One of the drug treatment presented in Spain involves the use of rivaroxaban, which shows promising results in managing CVD.

Given that CVD is increasingly prevalent worldwide, it is important that people with CVD or those at risk of CVD, should be screened earlier and managed appropriately, especially with its associated morbidity and mortality. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is one such intervention. It involves adopting heart-healthy lifestyle changes to address risk factors for CVD to improve quality of life. CR can provide an important avenue to deliver effective preventive care.

The cardiovascular health of countries around the world depends on the next generation of scientists and researchers, building on the works of the pioneers. Working together with the community, we can all secure a healthy future.

This year, the world also celebrates 50 years since the first ever successful human-to-human heart transplant in 1967. Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplantation in South Africa, drawing the attention of media worldwide at that time. Prior to 1967, surgeons experimented with xenotransplantation, with the hearts of chimpanzees and baboons. Just this year, Sri Lanka completed its first ever-successful human heart transplant, 50 years after Barnard’s operation. Techniques have since improved over the years. Doctors started using artificial hearts, improving immunosuppressant drugs, in attempts to extend patients’ survival rates, but there is no perfect technique or drug. The next 50 years will be challenging but interesting to watch, as new techniques and approaches are being developed for organ transplantation.

Treat your heart well, stay healthy, happy and hearty. See you soon!


Lim Guan Yu
APBN Editor
You can reach me at [email protected]

 

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