By Alexander Villafania
ILIGAN CITY, LANAO DEL NORTE—The first “Tuklas Lunas” Center at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) will be the country’s central research program to find natural substances for curative purposes.
The MSU-IIT will be the central office for Mindanao chosen for its track record, staff capability and institutional capacity, according to the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD).
Two more centers will be opened in Luzon and Visayas, with partner institutions to be named soon. Another 17 regional health research facilities will also be opened for support functions.
The Tuklas Lunas Centers will collaborate with PCHRD to harness natural substances indigenous to the Philippines for drug development, said PCHRD executive director Dr. Jaime Montoya.
Lagundi or chaste tree (Vitex negundo) and sambong (Blumea balsamifera) are two of the local plants developed to become a main ingredient in cough syrups and kidney stone removers, respectively.
Other projects of PCHRD this year include the development of drugs for the treatment of dengue and tuberculosis.
Through the Tuklas Lunas Centers, regions that are building their capacity in health research are encouraged to identify their problems and search for solutions, Montoya said.
DOST has been promoting the development of local plants for medical purposes through biotechnology development.
This could be worth billions of pesos and could put the Philippines in the global map for research in medical technologies, the official said.