What Has COVID Ever Done for Us? – By Ivor Campbell While COVID-19 devastated the world, what various developments in diagnostics and medical technology have occurred as a result of and in response to the pandemic?
Harnessing Self-Renewing Cells for Treatment of Cartilage Damage – By Dr Yang Zheng and Prof Jongyoon Han Osteoarthritis is an extremely common condition – causing pain in joints during walking, standing, and other activities – that afflicts many, especially the elderly; researchers are working on using mesenchymal stem cells for more effective cartilage repair to prevent the onset or progression of osteoarthritis.
The Mental Well-Being of Clinicians is a Top Priority – By Dr MJ Erickson-Hogue As healthcare providers around the world struggle to retain and hire staff in the midst of rising healthcare demands, how can the industry provide better support to prevent clinician burnout?
The Value of Medical Innovation – By Dr Rebecca Dent The incidence of breast cancer is growing in Asia and is the most common cancer among women in the region. With medical advancements, the survival rates for breast cancer have improved over time. However, unmet needs remain for breast cancer survivors and it is important that we continue to develop new innovations and enhance patients’ access to innovative cancer drugs.
Cutting-Edge Computing Tools are the Future of Genome Sequencing – By Sumir Bhatia As the world continues to grapple with the evolving variants of the COVID-19 virus, our ability to identify mutations accurately and speedily to develop the vaccines will determine how long the pandemic will continue to disrupt our lives.
Non-biological Estimate of Omicron Incidence – By Dr Galileo Violini A mathematical method to describe the relative weight of two infections of different transmissibility is presented and applied to discuss the incidence of Omicron and Delta in two case studies (Italy and Argentina).
Preparing for Crisis X – Not If but When – By Benedict Cheong COVID-19 has highlighted the urgency for ASEAN leaders to collaborate and strategise viable and sustainable solutions for more resilient healthcare systems to withstand future challenges. It’s not a matter of if the next pandemic will happen, but when.
Navigating Through Current and Future Health Challenges – By Lu-Ching Lau With 2022 on the horizon, Lu-Ching Lau, Director for External Affairs, Policy and Communications, Singapore and Malaysia, MSD, discusses three key areas where greater cooperation between public and private sectors can create synergistic benefits.
Reimagining Healthcare in Asia Through Digital Therapeutics – By Hema Thiagarajah A rapidly ageing population, combined with a surge in chronic, non-communicable diseases is driving the rise of healthcare costs in Asia. Digital therapeutics holds immense potential to radically transform healthcare from reactive treatment to proactive, predictive prevention and management of disease.
Vol 25, No. 06, June 2021
Understanding the microbiome as the 'Gateway to Wellness' The human microbiome is gaining increasing traction with wellness-conscious consumers around the world. Historically viewed as being on the periphery of mainstream scientific research, the microbiome and its wider role in general health and wellness are now very much at the forefront of clinical research, with over 800 peer-reviewed scientific publications on the topic published to date.
Harnessing the Power of Technology to Build a Fairer, Healthier World Healthcare is the cornerstone of social and economic development, and of global health security. Building strong health systems is not only an investment in healthier populations, but also an investment in safer and more stable societies. Intrinsic to laying the groundwork for those resilient health systems is harnessing the power of digital technologies, the adoption of which has certainly been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of Asia’s greatest growth stories, Thailand has moved from a low income to an upper-middle-income nation in less than a generation. In the process, the country has invested in their healthcare ecosystem and introduced a universal healthcare coverage (UHC) program that makes it possible for a large part of the population to access basic health services at little to no cost, contributing to higher life expectancies and lower birth rates.
Clinicians have a heavy responsibility; their decisions turn information into actions. Today, there is a growing need for innovation in clinical decision making. COVID-19 has shown us that in emergency situations, these critical decisions can be the difference between life and death. With chronic diseases are on the rise, healthcare systems are under pressure to deliver better care to more people at lower cost.
Telehealth adoption has accelerated during the pandemic as clinics and hospitals had to turn away non-essential consultations to mitigate the risk of infections, and reduce the burden on the healthcare workforce.
There are areas of our lives and society that might not go back to exactly the way they were before the pandemic – from reconfiguring workspaces to accommodate a distributed workforce, to contactless delivery and dining experiences, to planning our future travels based on new dynamics of social distancing. Along with these changes is the increasing adoption of telehealth or telemedicine.
Despite its large carbon footprint and high amounts of waste generated every year, the tech industry might just be the solution to the world’s climate change problems. Enter artificial intelligence with all its potential, researchers and companies have leveraged on this technology to assist in finding solutions to help combat or mitigate the effects of climate change.
Commercial space flight for space tourism might seem costly and far from an ordinary individual’s reach. However, over the past decade, the commercial space sector has been growing slowly but surely with private companies looking to launch its own commercial space flight with private passengers. Here we take a look at what has been done so far and what does the future look like for space tourism.
The race for a vaccine against COVID-19 continues as the number of confirmed cases across the world continue to escalate. Vaccine development is known to be a rigorous process of testing together with strict regulatory rules over many years before commercialization. But what will it take to condense the usual trial period and yet preserving the necessary testing for safety and efficacy?
Crippling healthcare systems, high unemployment rates, and a pile of societal issues, these account for only a portion of the damage done since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Only time will tell which candidate vaccine will pull us out of the woods as research institutes and biotech companies race to develop a viable vaccine against the novel disease.
With its multi-faceted strike on many industries and countries across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly tested the preparedness and resilience of governments and healthcare systems alike. But is there a sliver-lining for the environment as a result of the global outbreak?
Private and public partnerships are essential for the successful implementation of healthcare strategies. Technology should not be seen as an inhibitor, but rather an enabler, towards reaching worldwide healthcare goals.
Justin Chiah, Senior Director, South East Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong/Macau (SEATH) and Product Category, Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company deep dives into the crucial roles of a hospital's network for patient care.
First emerged in 1998 in Malaysia, the Nipah virus was found to be transmissible from animals to humans with an estimated case fatality rate of 40 to 75 percent.1 Despite not having any more cases within Malaysia and Singapore it is still present in various parts of Bangladesh and India. With high fatality rate and currently no treatment or vaccine available, there is a pressing need to boost research and development in the area.
The stringent regulatory requirements in Mainland China can be overly onerous for many MedTech manufacturers looking to sell into one of the world's largest and fastest growing healthcare markets. By contrast, Hong Kong's certification requirements for imported MedTech devices are voluntary and, in any case, less burdensome provided the manufacturer has already obtained certification in their home country.
First incorporated in 2018, CytoMed Therapeutics is a start-up spin-off from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Its main focus is to leverage on their proprietary technologies to develop "off-the-shelf" immunotherapeutics for a wide range of cancers.
The incidence of PAD is rising four times faster in Asia than Europe, if left untreated, PAD can lead to strokes, heart attacks, lower limb amputations complications caused by restricted blood flow and clots.
Presenting their results at the ESMO Asia Congress in 2019, researchers of the IMbrave150 study show for the first time in a decade a new class of treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma. The study reveals phase III trial results of a form of combination immunotherapy comprising of the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab and the VEGF inhibitor bevacizumab.
Local Singapore-based biotech company, MiRXES Pte Ltd, spun off from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore in 2014. Their microRNA research and technology platform looks to be applied across a range of biotech uses with a current focus on diagnostic tools for disease detection.
In a collaborative research, funded by the Singapore Economic Development Board, Changi General Hospital, and Abbott, the first part of the SHIELD study aimed to identify factors that are associated with muscle mass loss in community-dwelling elderly Singaporeans, through a cross-sectional study.
Singapore-based company, Nuvojoy offer low glycaemic index alternatives to favourite Asian desserts. Clinically-tested products such as premixes for soy pudding, kueh bahulu, and kueh lapis were developed by Nuvojoy in their journey to provide healthy alternatives for the Asian palate.
Tumour diversity is what makes cancer so difficult to treat, but scientists and doctors are starting to address the issue through the use of single cell technologies. Two emerging technologies, AI and multiomics single cell measurements, will play a key role.
Four years after the initiation of an extensive regulatory reform to accelerate new drug approvals, the Chinese legislature finally passed the new Drug Administration Law (DAL) on August 26, 2019, which will become effective as of December 1, 2019.
The number of deaths caused by antimicrobial resistance is projected to reach 10 million people yearly by 2050. This will translate into significant impact on public health and world economies if measures are not taken.
The future of medical diagnosis is not a competition between AI and clinicians. It is about AI extending the capabilities of doctors to help them get diagnosis right the first time, and to deliver more personalized care.
Physical rehabilitation is a branch of medicine aimed to enhance and restore the functional ability of those with physical impairments or disabilities. Present practices in physical rehabilitation are mostly labor - intensive. In this article will shall delve into the world of robotics and its potential in physical rehabilitation.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted its partial hold on the Xencor leukemia trial after the incident involving two deaths a few months back. In agreement with the FDA, Xencor stated that it has made changes to the study protocol, increasing monitoring and clinical management standards to avoid future similar cases. By Lim Wan Er
The water we rely on is being clogged fast by prescription drug waste, chemicals used in agriculture and industry, and micro-plastics, and it is seeping into the public water chain to threaten human health and wellbeing. by David Noble
Thierry Protas looks at the effect of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) legislation on companies looking to export pharma products to the United States, the looming 2018 cut off point for compliance, and how coding and marking is a key consideration.
From pre-programmed software to intention detection application, soft robotic medical technologies have it all to become the future of rehabilitation for patients with neurological disorders. By Jane Wang
3D printing has become a phenomenon in recent years. With an extensive history and many variations of it, 3D printers have permeated various manufacturing industries, and surprisingly, even the food industry. Tan Guan Chwen explores 3D printing and food printing.
Most of us are familiar with the two most commonly heard gases in the air we inhale and exhale - oxygen and carbon dioxide. Less attention is given to methane, one of the many gases in the ozone. By Lim Wan Er
Healthcare providers today face the challenge of delivering up-to-date, evidence-based care given the ever-burgeoning pool of medical evidence, coupled with the hassle of meeting advance electronic health record (EHR) platform integration requirements. Dr Ujjwal Rao proposes that buying knowledge-based CDSS is increasingly more favourable and the way forward.
The Arkhangai Liver Disease Free Program is a first-of-its-kind collaboration project in Asia and has nearly cured all its screened patients - at no cost to them. In light of the rising hepatitis infections in the world, public and private entities should work together to eliminate viral hepatitis.
Oral immunotherapy for food allergies can bring significant benefits to children with food allergies. It carries risks and has a significant cost. This treatment requires significant commitment from the children and their caregivers, for it to be performed safely and effectively.
by Dr Soh Jian Yi
With the Asia-Pacific healthcare market in a period of digital transformation and the explosion in IoT devices, Dirk Dumortier looks at the importance of the network in modernizing healthcare delivery and keeping healthcare provider and patient data safe in the face of cyber threats.
The healthcare industry faces a myriad of challenges. The traditional way of delivering patient care by dividing their attention between treating patients and handling administrative matters is not sustainable. With technology, doctors and nurses can free up their minds andhands to focus on providing quality service. By George Pepes.
The elderly population in ASEAN countries is rapidly aging, which brings about significant economic, social and fiscal consequences to the region. Brain aging is perhaps one of the most important challenges we will face, as it represents an integral part of our overall health and well being. Dr. Shawn Watson shares about this natural decline in our cognitive capabilities as we age.
Value-based healthcare is a healthcare delivery model in which providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes, which differs from a conventional fee-for-service system where providers are paid based on the treatment services delivered. By Fredrik Nyberg
Once a privilege of elites, beauty products are now accessible and enjoyed by the masses. With many brands in the market, consumers are spoilt for choice and have higher expectations, which cosmetics manufacturers are determined to meet. In their quest for competitive advantage, cosmetics manufacturers have created and proposed various novel product claims that consumers and the industry have grown to embrace, Jessen Curpen tells us more.
Dr Frank Detmers gives us an overview of how new approaches to the manufacture of biosimilars have the potential to support sustainable access to critical non-monoclonal antibody biosimilars such as human growth hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, tissue plasminogen activators and many other protein therapeutics.
Hypertension is a major contributor to heart failure and other cardiovascular complications. Integrating markers of adverse myocardial features (fibrosis and exaggerated hypertrophy) in hypertension management may improve risk stratification and informed therapeutic options for hypertensive patients, says Asst Prof Calvin Woon Loong Chin.
Over the past few decades, immunotherapy has been studied intensively as a promising treatment for cancer. Newer types of immune treatments are currently being studied, and they will impact how we treat cancer in the future. Dr Chen Shu-Jen and Dr Poon Song Ling share more with us.
In some extreme cases, a premature infant might need to be removed from the womb before completing the gestational period. Doctors from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in United States designed an innovative Biobag with the idea to allow premature newborns to continue developing in an artificial environment mimicking a mother's womb. The Biobag (Figure 1) used in the experiment is...
Rachel's pet kitten pads its way gently to her side, brushing its warm furry body against her legs. "Hello there..." Rachel coos, as her gaze meets those innocent eyes of the kitten glistening like black pearls. The kitten then yawns and stretches, before heading off to explore some nook in Rachel's house. Rachel misses the warm furry feeling against her leg, as with her spinal cord injury, her bottom torso is unable...
Humans go into hibernation, something we only read about in science fiction. is this possible? However, Dr Kevin Fong, who was trained in intensive care medicine, brought us through the mysterious tunnel in the Discovery program he hosted at BBC; 'Human Hibernation: The Big Sleep' . In this program, he presented a case happened in 2006 that a Japanese man survived through weeks without food and...
Lung cancer is a complex disease that can be classified by the types of cells seen under microscope, and also can be described further by mutation-the changes to the cell causing cancer growth . In other words, lung cancer could occur due to the mutation of different kind of genes. Thus far, researchers had identified a few mutations that might be found in lung cancer. These discoveries introduced the era...
"14 people die from cancer daily." "1 in 3 Singaporeans die of cancer." "33 people are diagnosed with cancer everyday."  These irking numbers and facts are thrown in our way every single day. They unnerve us, frighten us, and prompt us to leap to our feet and start taking control of our health and our lives. While some may disregard these figures, it is the undeniable truth that cancer has indeed...
APBN was recently invited to attend the 5th Annual Biomedical Engineering Industry Alliance networking event on 11th November 2016 held in the Shaw Foundation Alumni House in the National University of Singapore. There to welcome us was Dr. Dieter Trau, the original founder of BME IA. He introduced us to the current chairman of the organization, Dr. Michael J.A. Girard, with whom...
We attended the press conference for the release of Akynzeo, the latest anti-nausea and anti-vomiting drug distributed by Mundipharma for chemotherapy patients, led by Dr Wong Seng Weng. A comprehensive virtual reality program explaining the effects of the medication was presented with the Oculus Rift, giving a peek of the potential of technology in educating the public. Akynzeo was...
You may spot a foreigner in Orchard Singapore, and pass him off as a tourist here for holidaymaking. But, no, he is in fact a medical tourist. Indian national Timir Patel, 48, is one such example. He travelled specially from Mumbai to have kidney transplant surgery at Mount Elizabeth Hospital . Singapore, together with India and Thailand are the top 3 Asian countries that medical tourists flock to. These...
Tourists would usually plan an itinerary to go sight-seeing, shop, capture pictures and videos and to relax. Personally, I go travelling to break the routine of the daily grind and to rejuvenate. My other favourite parts of taking a vacation include immersing in another culture, sampling local food, meeting new people and experiencing another way of living, even for a little while...
"Eeeeee", the familiar high-pitched sound one hears when a mosquito flies near our ears, and we bat it away irritatedly. One of these mosquitoes could be the Anopheles species, which is the carrier of Plasmodium parasites that cause the life-threatening disease, malaria. On World Malaria Day (25 April 2016), World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report stating that, although an ambitious...
Co-organized by the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), part of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Singapore, the Consortium of Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease/Enterovirus 71 Studies in Asia (CoHESIA) and the Singapore Society of Microbiology and Biotechnology (SSMB), an international conference for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease...
Due to an average adult's changing and dynamic lifestyle of always chasing time, the easier option is to reach for the convenient and the accessible, which can result to an unhealthy diet, not getting enough sleep or lack of exercise. On top of these, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the things we touch-virtually anything...
Home is where the heart is. This phrase is not all that figurative as it is biological. As one of the vital organs, the heart has been long identified as the center of the entire body and the seat of life. Founded in 2000, World Heart Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries around the world to raise public awareness about heart health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease...
It is a given that water is a basic human need. The daily recommendation for optimum health is to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water everyday, as the average adult's body is composed of 75% water. Water serves as an agent to flush out toxins and energize our immune system, which in turn fights off several diseases...
Water, one of the three crucial ingredients in our life sustenance. We can only last for about 3 to 4 days without water. Our body is made of at least 60% water, and it helps keep us functioning daily...
When one mentions the acronym, WTO, we would immediately associate it with the World Trade Organisation. Little did many know that we have our very own WTO spearheaded by a Singaporean and the headquarter is also on this sunny island that deals with creating toilets around the world including water management and sanitation...
Additive Manufacturing (AM), more popularly known as 3D printing, was first developed for designers and engineers in 1984  to assemble an object from a virtual design by adding layer by layer of various material like bioplastic tubes until the desired result is complete. This process is done by forging, moulding and...
Many countries in Asia are facing an ageing population and the growing demand for healthcare has never been more urgent. Good quality healthcare is expensive, and many of the most-developed nations of the world are finding that the ever-rising costs for quality care are unsustainable. Singapore, on the other hand, has dexterously managed to keep its costs low without sacrificing quality...
When you fall off the wagon from your healthy diet or habitually consume food that trigger heartburn or indigestion, acid reflux may be a common occurrence. However, stomach acid backing up your food pipe is never a pleasant experience. If this happens often, and you're having difficulty swallowing food, it may be best to...
When touching your toes or reaching for something from a high shelf is proving to be difficult, you probably need to work on your flexibility. Being flexible doesn't necessarily mean turning into a gymnast or a contortionist. Rather, it's being able to...
There shall be no surprise to some of the events that we will be witnessing in the next 35 years. Some islands will be completely submerged, some languages and species of animals will be extinct. Changes to our intentional or unintentional habits that are disruptive to the environment...
I believe we've all heard of this idiom: Making a mountain out of a molehill - greatly exaggerating the severity of the situation. In many aspects, the idea of adverse magnification of an issue is surrounding us on a daily basis. With the advent of technology and the use of social media, we are forced to face the bombardment of minor issues that...
I have vivid memories of my first Nintendo hand-held gaming device, the infamous GameBoy. My first input computer language was DOS, where users had to punch the keys 'cd blahblah' and backslashes. It did not take too long till I started programming in Perl, Visual Basic and HTML...
What comes to mind when you see the words: Social Media? For some, it is an everyday interaction with your phone and for others, you are wary of this term and cannot help but notice its presence everywhere. Just how significant is social media in our daily lives?...
Inoculation of infected individuals' skin material was a common procedure before the 1700s. Edward Jenner was one of the pioneers for smallpox vaccine, and Jenner is considered as the Grandfather of Immunology. In simple terms, we should learn that vaccination procedure was not invented by pharmaceutical companies. The main objective of vaccination is to save lives. From a simple inoculation procedure to an in-depth understanding of acquired immunity?, vaccination is considered as the most important medical discovery.
Now, we are empowered to edit the genome of our offspring - to correct them from inheritable genetic diseases (i.e. Down's syndrome) and if we like, add in one or a few of our desirable traits. This has been made easier with the power of the newly-discovered CRISPR technology. Like other genome editing tools that have long been challenged with bioethical concerns, CRISPR emergence has once again cast unseen anxiety, caution and yet anticipation in the future of translational therapeutics for human diseases.