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Biomedical research has potential to produce new Vietnamese drugs

Update: April, 01/2019 - 08:00
Biomedical research in the country has led to new findings that could be used to make new Vietnamese-branded drugs. — VNA/VNS Photo Thế Anh
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — Biomedical research by scientists nationwide has led to important findings that could produce new Vietnamese-branded drugs and medical treatments, but commercialisation of research results faces challenges, experts have said.

Dr Nguyễn Đăng Quân, deputy director of the HCM City Biotechnology Centre, said the centre was involved in basic and applied research in agriculture, food, health and other fields that could be used commercially.

Quân spoke at a conference on biotechnology and biomedicine held on Saturday (March 30) by the Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union’s Centre for Việt Nam Youth Talents, Science and Technology, in co-operation with Military Hospital 7A.

“Research on monoclonal antibodies, for example, could lead to a new drug to treat blood cancers for patients in the country,” he said.

A group of scientists at the University of Science, a member of Việt Nam National University HCM City, are conducting research on redox nanoparticles for antimicrobial and anticancer therapies.

In their research, silica-containing redox nanoparticles 40-50nm in size are used in antibiotics to improve the solubility and efficiency of the drugs.

“Cancer and bacterial infections induced by antibiotic resistance are the leading causes of death globally and are strongly related to reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are signaling mociles that play an important role in maintaining physiological functions of the body,” they said.

The high levels of ROS damage DNA, protein and lipids, which can lead to many kinds of disease including cancer and antibiotic resistance.

Most commercially available drugs have low bioavailability due to poor water solubility, which limits their effectiveness and clinical application, they said.

Dr Phạm Xuân Đà, head of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s national office in the southern region, told Việt Nam News that research results in the field have shown practical application.

However, scientists face challenges commercialising their research results. “The country does not have many large pharmaceutical groups to co-operate with researchers in commercialisation,” Đà said.

The Government should develop more comprehensive policies to address this problem, he added.

Quân said that his centre has many advanced machines capable of doing high-level research, but has had difficulty finding experienced and top scientists because of the low income offered. — VNS

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