By Estrella Z. Gallardo
A group of media outfits, together with the staff of the Department of Science and Technology – National Capital Region (DOST-NCR), visited a project called PCOPEIA: Predictive Chromatography of Organic Plant Extracts with intelligent Agents at the Technological Institute of the Philippines in Quezon City on February 19, 2019.
Project Leader Dr. Drandreb Earl O. Juanico explained the project to the group by showing how the system implemented to determine the characteristics, properties and other work toward organic plant extractions.
The Technological Institute of the Philippines is the Implementing Agency.
Project beneficiaries are Pascual Pharma Corp., for its continued leadership as an innovation in the natural products sector of the local pharmaceutical industry; Botanical gardens for the profiling of compounds that could be extracted from their plant collections for possible medical applications; drug discovery data banks and screening libraries, for contributing extracts data, Pharmaceutical and Philippine Government, in support of its drug discovery project.
A crucial phase in the natural products drug discovery process is separation, which follows extraction Separation or factionalism is an iterative task that is both time consuming and laborious, a situation which the lack of standardization exacerbates.
A process that would improve the slow phase of the drug discovery process could consequently speed up the pace of discovery while minimizing the cost.
Such a process should embody the paradigm of “fail fast, fail cheap” (Hall, 2007) that may address the commercialization battle need in the natural products path to drug discovery.
This paradigm is indeed justifiable with the aim to economize the supposedly extensive search for novel drugs from compounds within harvested plant material.
A plant called Blumea Balsamifera, locally known as “sambong”, a plant that has found broad usage across Southeast Asia and China for its putative medicinal effects will be used in this study.
The project aims to develop a remarks monitoring system for environmental conditions at the sambong plantation; to design the data collection and processing protocols toward sambong extraction, to collect input-output datasets related to sambong’s HPLC fingerprints, nonlinear, relationships between input and output toward predicting chromatographic profiles, and to connect the study with bioassay results. (MegaManila Science Journalists)