Experts urge support for genetic researchDoctors and health experts have urged the government to give more attention and investment in genetic research to improve health services for critical diseases such as cancer.
Doctors and health experts have urged the government to give more attention and investment in genetic research to improve health services for critical diseases such as cancer.
Society of Life Sciences Nepal and DECODE Genomics and Research Centre along with other organisations collaborated to host the first-ever National Conference on Genetic Diseases in the Capital on Friday.
During the two-day event, experts cited the lack of infrastructures and facilities to improve genetic research as the major limitations.
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Secretary Dr Buddhi Ratna Khadgi said, “Governmental authorities do not grant us appointments to meet and discuss our issues. Therefore, we cannot give our suggestions to the government which continues to neglect science and technology.”
According to experts, 90 per cent of genetic researchers relocate abroad as they have better opportunities to share their skills and knowledge there in an enabling environment.
Genetic diseases are the major causes of various non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders, Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia and hemophilia among many others.
Norvic International Hospital Department of Oncology Chief and Senior Consultant Dr R P Baral told the Post, “Genetic diseases can affect anyone; it does not have to be just hereditary. Genetic research is a boon for medical field and we must utilise it well. Our government must show concern in this field particularly. We are lacking proper labs and resources.”
Doctors have also suggested manufacturing medicine on the basis of proper genetic research. Jhapa-based B and C Hospital Oncologist Dr Birendra Yadav said, “During manufacturing drugs, we should be aware of mutation as well. A single disease causing gene can mutate a number of times.”
Many doctors urge sharing instances of new mutation they come across because it is critical in genetic research.
US National Cancer Institute defines new mutation as ‘An alteration in a gene that is present for the first time in one family member as a result of a mutation in a germ cell (egg or sperm) of one of the parents, or a mutation that arises in the fertilized egg during early embryogenesis’.
Nepal Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Consultant Genetic Counsellor and Professor Dr Arti S. Pandey said, “As mutation occur number of times, new type of mutation can be noticed. If every doctor would notify others as well about such new mutation, it will be a great help for everyone in genetic research.”
Representatives from governmental bodies taking part in the event assured increasing their concerns and investment in genetics.
Nepal Health Research Council Executive Chairman Dr Anjani Kumar Jha said, “We now have many young genetic researchers which is a great achievement for us. Our challenge is to create an enabling environment for researchers from the new generation. We shall facilitate all help to experts and students in their research.”
Members of the parliament also guaranteed to increase the economic funding in Nepal’s genetic research. Former prime minister and co-chairman of Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the chief guest of the event, said, “We have been able to keep health as a fundamental right, but we have not been able to improve the health sector. From the next session, we will end the traditional budgetary system of allocating minimum budget for health sector. There are many places to improve in health and we will.”