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[2018/07/31] Lending a Hand to Help the Philippines with Rare Diseases, a NYMU & Philippines Cooperation Agreement

National Yang-Ming University and the University of Philippines, Manila, signing the medical personnel exchange agreement


Over the past few years, National Yang-Ming University and Taipei Veterans General Hospital have helped to establish an effective diagnosis system for juvenile lysosomal storage disease in the Philippines. Because of this cooperation, National Yang-Ming University and the University of Philippines, Manila, have signed a memorandum of cooperation with the hope of expanding Taiwan-Philippines medical exchanges.


Lysosomal storage disease is a genetic disorder that causes fats, glycoprotein and mucopolysaccharide to aggregate inside the lysomes of cells; this results in defective cellular functioning. There are around forty different disorders associated with this disease and the most noticeable one is “Mucopolysaccharide babies”. Professor Niu from the National Yang-Ming University, Institute of Clinical Medicine, and Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Genetic Counseling Center, began working with the University of Philippines, Manila, in 2017. The aim was to targeting a high-risk cohort in the Philippines by providing DNA samples to National Yang-Ming University for analysis and diagnosis. Currently, both schools are continuing to cooperate together in this screening program.


With the aim of expanding this cooperation between the two schools, President Padilla and National Yang-Ming University signed a memorandum of cooperation that aims to develop collaboration in the areas of genetics, biomedical engineering, and medical material science over the next few years. The agreement allows researcher and student exchanges between the universities. These exchanged individuals will then take part in joint research programs.


President Kou of National Yang-Ming University and President Padilla of the University of Philippines, Manila, signing the memorandum of cooperation


President Kou remarked that National Yang-Ming University has already signed collaborations with 87 of the world’s top universities, including 40 that are located in Asia. The geographical location of Philippines near Taiwan means that many medical problems and diseases have common points of interest between these two countries and there was pleasure in cooperating with such a prestigious university in the Philippines. This agreement would allow students to have the opportunity to train in the Philippines.


Professor Niu remarked that the Taiwan Philippines Lysosomal storage disease high-risk cohort screening program had entered its second year of collaboration and that he was thrilled to use the experience of Taiwan to aid the Philippines, which was already contributing to today’s academic cooperation agreement.


Taiwan has very signification abilities in a wide range of medical fields and more students from the Philippines are choosing to study at National Yang-Ming University. Currently there are five Filipino students studying at Yang-Ming. These students are working in the Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Genome Sciences, in the Program in Molecular Medicine, in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Ph.D. Degree Program and in the Department of Dentistry.


Officials from both schools group at the signing ceremony