/ 12 November 2023

THE University of Santo Tomas partnered with the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital and Medical Center in Taiwan to embark on a clinical study called “telomeres.”

“This cooperative endeavor not only signifies a rare instance of clinical trial cooperation between the two nations but also represents a significant step forward in the healthcare domain,” the university said.

Telomeres, often described as the guardians of gene stability, are specialized DNA repeats found at the ends of chromosomes.

Their length gradually shortens with each round of chromosome replication, and when they become too short, it triggers cell apoptosis. This unique biological phenomenon allows the length of telomeres to function as a clock for cell division, providing insights into an individual’s biological age, it explained.

Moreover, telomeres have been found to be closely associated with medical conditions, including bone marrow failure, cancer and a range of aging-related diseases, it added.

The Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, as part of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s New Southbound 2.0 Program, has been actively involved in medical and health cooperation with other countries.

In 2023, the hospital helped establish a Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Chongren General Hospital in the Philippines.

This initiative laid the groundwork “for a multinational clinical trial program conducted in collaboration with UST.”

“This comprehensive program not only involves imparting technical training to the Philippine medical and research team but also encompasses the creation of a DNA database, with the overarching aim of advancing the treatment of telomere-related diseases,” UST said.