St. Luke's Medical Center's DNA-based molecular diagnostic tests for Hepatitis B virus:

Since 2001 St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) has been conducting various DNA-based molecular diagnostic tests for hepatitis B virus (HBV) through the Research and Biotechnology Division (RBD). These services which include detection, viral load determination, and genotyping of HBV are based on the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique, a rapid and highly accurate method. The procedures used are an offshoot of researches on liver diseases at the RBD of St. Luke’s Medical Center.

There are 3 different tests available at St. Luke’s:

• Detection - The hepatitis DNA present in the blood of patients is enzymatically amplified by PCR, visualized and identified by molecular methods.
• Quantitation - Quantitative PCR is used to determine viral load, which is needed to monitor the progress of treatment.
• Genotype determination - There are at least 8 different genotypes of the hepatitis B virus. Knowing the genotype is important in deciding which treatment approach to use. This is accomplished by PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP).

A similar set of tests for hepatitis C virus infections, using RNA detection methods is also offered.

For the past 5 years, liver patients at St. Luke’s and other medical institutions in the country have availed of these tests. Patrons of the HBV tests at SLMC include hospitals from Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Davao, Central Luzon, Pampanga, Laguna, and Cavite. Hospitals such as Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Medical City, Capitol Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, among others, have availed of these same services from St. Luke's.

At present, RBD is upgrading these services to include real-time PCR and microarray technology in its bid to remain at the forefront of liver disease healthcare in the region.

For more information, please contact:

Filipinas F. Natividad, PhD
Asst. Vice-President & Director
Research and Biotechnology Division
St. Luke's Medical Center
279 E. Rodriguez Blvd., Cathedral Heights
Quezon City 1102 Philippines
Phone: (63-2)7230101 local 4501; (63-2)7275540
Telefax: (63-2)726-0467
E-mail: ffnatividad at