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Philippines Tapping biotechnology
vs cancer by the Go Negosyo team
15-April-2008 The Philippine STAR
The search for cures for various
types of cancer has led pioneers to look more closely at some
“There are other ways to cure certain cancers apart from
using conventional methods,” said Rolando de la Cruz, a
Filipino inventor and entrepreneur who won the top award
in the 2005 International Trade Fair-Ideas-Invention New
Product for developing an organic cream that treats Basal
Cell Carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer.
He explained that his invention, DeBBC Cream, was a formulation
developed from extracts of cashew nuts and other Filipino
herbs. “The viscous substance of cashew nuts and other herbs
with the same characteristic can be used as an alternative
to the regular painful treatments of skin growths and diseases,”
he said. “So I gave it a try.”
“Sometimes curiosity can lead you to things that will even
surprise you,” he added. He said that having once worked
in a barbershop to pay for his schooling has inspired him
to be an inventor, initially specializing in hair care.
De la Cruz is the entrepreneur behind RCC Amazing Touch
International Inc., a one-stop shop for skin and hair treatment,
which specializes in the natural non-surgical removal of
warts, moles and other skin growths.
“The failure of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapies
in cancer treatment to reverse the disease has led to a
new approach – to scrutinize the use of medicinal plants
as cancer treatment and boost the body’s immune system,”
explained Vicenta Mendoza-Escobar.
“Medicinal plants contain a large number of phytochemicals
that have healing action by enhancing the immune system
response, as well as the body’s detoxification and antioxidant
systems activity,” she added.
Mendoza-Escobar is a renowned researcher of medicinal plants
and is owner of Sol y Viento Phytotherapy Research Center,
a company specializing in herbal formulations for health
When “Noni,” a formula derived from a Tahitian plant with
medicinal properties, became popular in the late 1990s,
she studied it and discovered that it was also endemic in
the country. “It was commonly known as apatot,” she said.
After establishing apatot’s medicinal properties, she started
producing Noni Juice Wine, fermenting the plant without
the use of preservatives. But her continuous research eventually
led her to discover that mangosteen, graviola (guyabano)
and 15 other herbs also had medicinal properties which can
be combined with noni.
“The key is continuous research and monitoring,” she said.
Her formula, Noni Synergy Herbaltonic, is now being distributed
by multi-level marketing groups.
“Studies show that some 33 factors can cause the development
of cancer,” she explained. “Exposure to one or more of these
environmental, lifestyle, physical and emotional stress
factors can lead to cancer, so it is crucial to discern
that cancer is not caused by the presence of carcinogen
alone but a combination of factors that weaken the body
immune system response.”
Since cancer is caused by different factors, biotechnology
has been attacking it on different fronts.
Another approach, albeit controversial, is the use of stem
cell research or regenerative medicine, which has been sought
after as an effective response when cancer is already present.
“Our commitment is to develop custom-designed molecular
therapies by adapting advanced techniques to enhance and
boost the entire immune system using the inherent wisdom
of the body,” explained Dr. Samuel Bernal.
A doctor and biochemist by profession, Bernal underwent
a two-year medical subspecialty training in oncology (cancer
medicine) in 1979 at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at
Harvard. He soon founded Strata Lucida, a biotechnology
company based in California, and LA-Boston Bioresearch Fund,
a biotechnology research and consulting organization, to
pursue his research and development on curing cancer.
He also owns Globe TekPro Health which specializes in advanced
integrative molecular and bio therapies. “We make it a point
to use global, up-to-date, and customized therapy for all
types of cancer,” he said.
“We personally and laboriously develop the patients’ own
dendritic cells to stimulate the immune system to recognize
and destroy tumor cells,” he added.
Regenerative medicine is a new branch of medicine in which
cell- and tissue-based therapies are applied to the treatments
of various diseases. It promises treatment of diseases such
as cancer, heart disease, kidney disease and other degenerative
“There have been rapid advances in molecular and cell biology
in recent years,” he said. “These provided insights into
the remarkable self-healing properties of human cells, which,
once harnessed, can be very beneficial to all.”
“Curiosity is a good start,” said Dela Cruz on harnessing
biotechnological discoveries. “If you have the drive to
find out if certain materials or objects can be helpful
to others, you’re have a good start.”
Tomorrow, Joey Concepcion, founding trustee of the Philippine
Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), together with Maoi Arroyo
of Hybridigm Consulting, will lead the conferring of awards
on Dela Cruz, Mendoza-Escobar and Bernal as among Go Negosyo’s
Most Inspiring Biotechnology Entrepreneurs, at the 4th Annual
Philippine Biotechnology Venture Summit at the Ateneo School
of Medicine and Public Health Auditorium in Ortigas Avenue,
The Summit, which runs until Friday, is organized by Hybridigm
Consulting, the pioneering technology commercialization
firm, under the leadership of Maoi Arroyo. Go Negosyo has
partnered for this event, reiterating its strong commitment
to recognizing inspiring entrepreneurs throughout the country
to present them as role models, in line with PCE’s vision
to create an entrepreneurial culture in the country.
The public is invited to attend the Biotechnology Venture
Summit to discover and learn innovative business ideas and
new opportunities in the biotech field.
For more information on the Biotech Summit, call 810-8639
or log on to http://summit.philbiotech.net.
SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center UPLB Campus 4031, Los Baños, Laguna, PHILIPPINES
Telephone +6349 536 2290 ext. 406 / 169 / 135
Fax +6349 536 4105
SEARCA BIC is one of the biotechnology information nodes of the International
Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications Global Knowledge
Center (ISAAA KC) and hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center
for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). It was officially
established in 2000 to address the needs of the region for a highly
credible, sound and factual biotechnology information center in the
Southeast Asian region accessible to various stakeholders.