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[2018/08/02]The Flagship Program of Precision Medicine for the Asia Pacific Region Begins Collaboration between TVGH-NYMU and Harvard

The initiation of the TVGH-NYMU/Harvard collaboration conference, which discussed the Flagship Program of Precision Medicine for Asia Pacific Region, was held at National Yang-Ming University


The Flagship Program of Precision Medicine for Asia Pacific Region is an international cooperation program that is promoted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Science and Technology. This year, collaboration between the TVGH-NYMU (Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang-Ming University) team and Harvard University was initiated. The initiation conference took place on July 16 at National Yang-Ming University. Under this national level flagship program, the TVGH-NYMU team, Harvard University, and the National Health Research Institutes will work together. The program will combine Yang-Ming’s basic research, Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s clinical research, Harvard’s advanced research, and the National Health Research Institutes expertise in gene sequencing and precision medicine; the aim being to further research into and the development of the field of precision medicine.


During the conference, Associated Professor I-Chen Ho of Harvard University, who is also a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, and Vice President Huey-Kang Sytwu of Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes were present as keynote speakers and they explained the advanced research bring carried out. During Professor Ho's presentation, he introduced new research on rheumatoid arthritis biomarkers that involves clinical checkups to target and personalized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; this is a novel and advanced area of research. It is hoped that, in the near future, the TVGH-NYMU team will expand this research to Taiwan, thus creating cooperation in this newly developing area of medicine.


Vice President Sytwu described how they are using various different genetic modified mouse models to identify new approaches to curing Type I diabetes. This has great clinical significance and, in the near future, under the support of the flagship program, there will be collaboration with the TVGH-NYMU team in this area.



  Harvard Medical School's Associate Professor Ho (left) and National Health Research Institutes' Vice President Sytwu explaining the area of advanced research of interest.


The Flagship Program of Precision Medicine for Asia Pacific Region's Chief Moderator, Professor Tsai, who is also a Professor (joint appointment) at National Yang-Ming University, Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Genome Sciences, and Director of the Department of Research Planning and Development at the National Health Research Institutes, remarked the following. This is a 4-year Flagship Program that combines Taiwan's expertise in Biotechnology and Information Science with an international biotechnology collaboration program. It is being promoted by the National Health Research Institutes and involves Taiwan, the USA and Japan. The aim is to develop precision medicine and learning health systems in order to create new medical care industries in Taiwan. This will involve Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes, both international and local academic units as well as a number of medical centers. These entities are taking part in a joint research program, with genomics as the basis, that targets rare diseases, cancer prevention and a number of other specific and important diseases; the overall aim being to develop genomic analysis service, genetic test panels and healthcare delivery systems as products and services.


The flagship program TVGH-NYMU team program coordinators, NYMU Yang Vice President, Professor Huang, of the Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, and Doctor Zheng of Taipei Veterans General Hospital introduced the detailed research areas of the Yang-Ming-Harvard collaboration during the conference.


President Kou remarked that just like the name of this flagship program, the future of biotechnology will be based on industry-academic cooperation; it is hoped that through such collaboration it will be possible to transform National Yang-Ming University from a research-based university to one that is also mission-oriented. Being part of national policy and by promoting biotechnology-industry development, these will not only help to cultivate talent at Yang-Ming, but will also help students develop towards having a better future.


Professor Tsai, President Liang (National Health Research Institutes), President Kou, Professor Ho, Vice President Sytwu, Vice President Yang, and Doctor Zheng (Front row from the right), together with Professor Huang (second row third from right)