The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) has nodded to a research study that seeks to examine gene expression and potential genes associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) among Filipino pregnant women.
GDM is a condition wherein pregnant women suffer from diabetes during pregnancy.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said they are supporting the ongoing project, led by Dr. Maria Ruth Pineda-Cortel of the Department of Medical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas (UST). Pineda-Cortel received the Association of Southeast Asian Nations- United States (ASEAN-US) Science Prize for Women in 2020.
“It is screening the presence of and analyze GDM-related Short Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine their viability for early diagnosis compared with that of standard diagnostic tools such as the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT),” he announced on the DOSTv Facebook page on Friday, July 9.
The OGTT is used to diagnose gestational diabetes among Filipino pregnant women.
“Results of the study will fill significant gaps in our understanding of GDM, and provide baseline prevalence of GDM among pregnant Filipino women,” de la Peña said.
He noted that a total of 627 pregnant women have already been enrolled in the study, 196 of whom have GDM, “indicating an estimated 31 percent prevalence of GDM, based on data collected from February 2018 to March 2020.”
“Remaining samples are currently being subjected to laboratory procedures and data obtained are being analyzed,” he added.
The DOST chief said Pineda-Cortel’s team has partnered with Dr. Emilyn U. Alejandro of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of Minnesota, through the DOST-PCHRD Balik Scientist Program.
“The project, which commenced in 2018, is now in its last year of implementation,” he said.