Genomics, personalised treatment to modernise traditional medicine, expert says

Update: June, 10/2019 - 08:05


A patient is treated in the traditional medicine department at District 11 Hospital. — VNS Photo Gia Lộc

HCM CITY — Genomics will play a key role in modernising traditional medicine by taking into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle of each patient, Dr Trương Đình Kiệt of the Medical Genetics Institute has said.

Kiệt spoke on June 8 at a conference on eastern and western integrative medicine held at HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy.

He said that genomics would be important for DNA barcoding, a method of species identification that use a short section of DNA from a specific gene or genes.

The cost of next-generation sequencing is three million times cheaper than that of previous methods but offers results that are 100,000 times faster, he said. This will allow more Vietnamese people to afford it, he said.

Dr Nguyễn Thị Bay, chairwoman of the HCM City Society for Eastern and Western Integrative Medicine, said that integration of traditional medicine with western medicine has become common around the world, including in Việt Nam.

“This close and comprehensive integration helps us achieve the goal of improving health for people in a safer and more effective way,” Bay said.

The integration also reduces side effects caused by drugs, she said, adding that traditional medicine has therapies that do not use herbs, such as acupuncture and food therapy.

The Society for Eastern and Western Integrative Medicine was officially set up on June 8 to connect experts in both fields in the city.  

Dr Phạm Lê An, head of Family Medicine Centre at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said the traditional medicine sector in the country has not conducted much research on the effectiveness of therapies and herbs.

The co-operation between practicioners of traditional and family medicine should be strengthened to solve these shortcomings, he added.

Dr Đỗ Tân Khoa, head of the HCM City Traditional Hospital, said the application of evidence-based medicine is being used in traditional medicine therapies with the aim of achieving personalised medicine, which determines the right drug, dose and time period of treatment for each patient.

At the hospital, western and traditional medicine are carried out in pain treatment, rehabilitation, skincare and massage with acupuncture, he said. — VNS

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