Italy’s Liver Foundation top exec calls ties with PH a ‘love story’

Published December 4, 2021, 1:07 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The top official of the Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF) or the Italian Liver Foundation described Italy’s partnership with the Philippines on liver research as a “love story.”

Fondazione Italiana Fegato (FIF Facebook page)

FIF president Dr. Decio Ripandelli made the remarks during the 5th Annual Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Italian Liver Foundation held virtually on Nov. 18.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said Ripandelli called Italy’s collaboration with the Philippines through FIF and DOST a love story.

During the annual meeting of the FIF, Ripandelli commented that the liver health objectives and activities outlined by DOST coincide with the Foundation’s objectives, the DOST chief said.

“We are lovers by definition, and we are looking forward [to] a very, very long love story in order to enhance what has already been done but [also] what we will be able to do in the future,” Ripandelli said during the meeting.

Scientists from FIF’s network including Filipino DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) scholars in Italy attended the meeting.

In August this year, the DOST-PCHRD, University of The Philippines-Manila (UPM), and FIF signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) seeking to develop and promote scientific and technological cooperation on translational hetapology through joint research and development, grant of scholarships and research fellowships, and exchange of scientists, experts and researchers for studies, and training.

Under the MOU, the DOST-PCHRD, UPM, and FIF will carry out scientific and technological cooperation on translational hepatology through the following initiatives:

-Joint Research and Development;

-Granting of scholarships for Master’s and PhD degrees, and post-graduate studies, research fellowships, research enrichment training;

-Exchange of scientists, experts, and researchers for studies, observations and training;

-Conduct of joint training and specialised training courses;

-Organization of joint conferences, symposia, workshops, and events;

-Promotion of collaboration between other relevant scientific institutions and organisations from the Philippines and Italy;

-Establishment of the Liver Research Program that will further open opportunities and developments in liver research-related infrastructures and resources;

-Convene a Philippine Liver Network comprised of academic and research institutions throughout the country; and

-Other forms of cooperation as the participants may mutually agree upon.

The MOU provides that the following areas on translational hepatology are to be explored: applications of OMICs technologies in explaining pathogenesis in liver diseases, biomarker discovery for precision medicine, discovery of novel therapeutic targets, and investigation of gut microbiome and liver diseases; animal and non-animal models for liver diseases; and artificial intelligence ad its application to diagnosis and prognostication in chronic liver disease.