Saturday, December 2, 2017

Department of Science & Technology confers the "Balik Scientist" Award to Dr. Louie Gangcuangco

Hon. Fortunato de la Pena, secretary of The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and USec. Carol Yorobe conferred the Balik Scientist (Returning Scientist) Award to Dr. Louie Mar Gangcuangco last December 1, 2017 at Sofitel Hotel & Conference Center in Manila, Philippines.

Dr. Gangcuangco is a recipient of the award for his contributions to HIV research. He is currently working with doctors from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital and the Hawaii Center for AIDS to investigate immune activation and neurologic complications of HIV among Filipinos.

The certificate reads: "In recognition of your contributions and continuing support to the initiatives of the DOST; In helping nurture and expand research and development capability and expertise... all over the country"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dr. Louie Gangcuangco's novel endorsed at CNN Philippines

Faustine Luell Angeles, HIV awareness advocate and founder of the organization "Pedal for HIV," talks about how understanding within the gay community is key to acceptance, respect and addressing the stigma against the virus.

Mr. Luell Angeles cited Dr. Louie Gangcuangco's novel, "Orosa-Nakpil, Malate" as a book that honestly depicts the LGBT community of Manila and how we can holistically address the HIV epidemic through respect and understanding.

Clip courtesy of CNN Philippines:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

HIV start-up meeting with the University of Hawai'i

Dr. Louie Mar Gangcuangco facilitated the visit of Scott Bowler, laboratory trainor and MSc in Tropical medicine candidate, and Dr. Cecilia Shikuma, Director of the Hawai'i Center for AIDS last November 13, 2017 to jumpstart the research collaboration with the University of Hawai'i and the Philippine General Hospital.

The research protocol entitled, "Immune activation dynamics of HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy in the Philippines" is an IRB-approved project of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital and the Hawaii Center for AIDS-University of Hawaii. The primary goal of the study is to describe the degree of immune activation/inflammation among HIV-infected patients in the Philippines. This study will also look at the neuro-psychiatric performance of the HIV patients in the Philippine General Hospital.

The principal investigator from the Philippine General Hospital is Dr. Marissa Alejandria. Dr. Christian Francisco will serve as the project leader, and Ms. Concepcion Ang of the Medical Research Laboratory will supervise the lab operations of the study. Dr. Gangcuangco will serve as the over-all research liaison between the two institutions.

(Left  to Right) Kenneth Bongulto, (lab tech); Jerome Villena (research associate), Concepcion Ang (lab supervisor), Dr. Christian Francisco (project leader, PGH), Dr. Marissa Alejandria (principal investigator, PGH), Dr. Cecilia Shikuma (principal investigator, Univ. of Hawaii), Dr. Louie Gangcuangco (research liaison and returning scientist, Univ. of Hawaii), and Scott Bowler (lab trainor, Univ. of Hawaii).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dr. Louie Gangcuangco invited to be the technical writer of the Diarrhea Guidelines of the Philippines

Dr. Louie Mar Gangcuangco, with his excellent medical writing skills and extensive international publication experience, was invited to be the Technical Writer and Editor of the Acute Gastroenteritis Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Philippines. This joint project of the Department of Health and the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases is very important in a country where cholera, Salmonella, and other forms of food-borne and water-borne infections remain common.

The guidelines are set to be released in March 2018.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Very high vitamin D levels and inflammation

High 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with unexpectedly high plasma inflammatory markers in HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy.

Louie Mar A. Gangcuangco, MD, a, b Lindsay B. Kohorn, a Dominic C. Chow, MD, PhD, a, cSheila M. Keating, PhD, d Philip J. Norris, MD, d, e Lorna S. Nagamine, RN, a Lishomwa C. Ndhlovu, MD, PhD, a Scott A. Souza, PharmD, a, c Kalpana J. Kallianpur, PhD, a and Cecilia M. Shikuma, MD a, ∗
Monitoring Editor: Giuseppe Lapadula.
Correspondence: Cecilia M. Shikuma, Hawaii Center for AIDS, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 651 Ilalo St., Biomedical Sciences Building 231, Honolulu, HI 96813 (e-mail: ude.iiawah@amukihs).
Inflammation associated with low 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality among HIV-infected patients with vitamin D deficiency. We investigated the association between 25(OH)D and soluble biomarkers among HIV-infected patients on stable antiretroviral therapy. This is a cross-sectional study. This study focuses on assessment in subjects 40 years or older on stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) for >3 months. Chemiluminescent immunoassay was used to determine plasma 25(OH)D levels. Plasma soluble biomarkers were measured by Luminex technology. Multivariable linear regression analysis was used to assess the associations between log10-25(OH)D and soluble biomarkers.
Of 138 patients, median age was 50.5 (45, 57) years and 25(OH)D was 34.0 (25.0, 42.3) ng/mL. The majority were males (88%) and had undetectable HIV RNA (84.8%); 19 (13.8%) had 25(OH)D ≥50 ng/mL. Spline regression analyses suggested a J-shaped relationship between various plasma biomarkers and 25(OH)D. Among subjects with 25(OH)D ≥20 ng/mL, multivariable linear regression showed positive association between 25(OH)D and interleukin (IL)-10 (β = 1.84, P < 0.001), IL-6 (β = 0.72, P = 0.02), MPO (β = 0.47, P = 0.02), serum amyloid A (β = 1.20, P = 0.04), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (β = 0.51, P = 0.04). High 25(OH)D (≥50 ng/mL) was associated with higher IL-6 (β = 0.30, P = 0.009), IL-8 (β = 0.14, = 0.005), IL-10 (β = 0.43, P = 0.02), and TNF-α (β = 0.20, P = 0.04), independent of age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, hepatitis C co-infection, current smoking status, CD4%, and HIV RNA.
In older HIV-infected patients, high 25(OH)D was associated with higher (not lower) levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Higher-than-optimal 25(OH)D may be associated with immune dysregulation and may pose a potential health risk among HIV-infected patients.

Full text:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections!

Excited to hear about the latest updates on HIV and AIDS at the up-coming Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) 2017, which will be held in Seattle, Washington.
This blog will keep you posted on the most interesting research abstracts at the conference!

CROI 2017: Seattle

The annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) brings together top basic, translational, and clinical researchers from around the world to share the latest studies, important developments, and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases. CROI is a global model of collaborative science and the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses.
CROI 2017 will be held from February 13 to February 16, 2017, in Seattle, Washington, at the Washington State Convention Center. Webcasts, abstracts, electronic posters, and other electronic resources from CROI 2017 will be available online after the conference ends.
The CROI Foundation partners with the International Antiviral Society–USA (IAS–USA) for organization of the conference.

Blogger's Biography

Dr. Louie Mar Gangcuangco is an HIV researcher, best-selling novelist, and one of the youngest licensed physicians from the Philippines. He is the author of the multi-awarded Filipino novel Orosa-Nakpil, Malate and is currently working as a clinical research associate for the Hawaii Center for AIDS.

Elementary and high school years

Dr. Gangcuangco was born on March 26, 1987 in Mandaluyong CityPhilippines. He finished his primary education in Montessori de San Juan (MSJ) as the batch valedictorian in 1999. He represented MSJ in several competitions, most notably the Walt Disney Interschool Leadership Competition in which he was second runner-up.
He was a junior reporter for the morning television show, Alas Singko y Medya (ABS-CBN) from 1997 to 2000 where he featured pertinent issues affecting children and interviewed celebrities, including the international pop singer, Aaron Carter. He graduated from Manila Science High School (Masci) in 2003 as the First Honorable Mention, First Meritorious Awardee, Best in English, and Best in Filipino. He has represented Masci in several interschool competitions, including the Philippine National Inventors' Contest; Children’s Museum and Library Incorporated Impromptu Speech Contest (second place); and The Philippine National Police Impromptu Speaking Contest (third place). He was the Science editor of The Nucleus, the school publication of Masci, awarded as the third best school paper in the Philippines during his editorship.

Medical education and training

Dr. Gangcuangco was two years accelerated in college under the Integrated Liberal Arts and Medicine (Intarmed) curriculum of the UP College of Medicine at the University of the Philippines Manila. He had his elective clerkship in Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine in UCLA in 2008 where he received an 'A' performance rating. He trained under the Straight Internal Medicine Internship program of the Philippine General Hospital from June 2009 to April 2010. Dr. Gangcuangco received his BS in Basic Medical Sciences degree in 2007 and Doctor of Medicine degree from the UP College of Medicine in May 2010 with the prestigious distinction of being the Most Outstanding Student in Research.

Published books

Dr. Gangcuangco's interests in infectious diseases inspired him at 18 years old, to write the novel, Orosa-Nakpil, Malate, which was published in March 2006. It is an anthropologic exposition of the mechanics of HIV transmission in the Philippine's gay district of Malate, Manila.
Orosa-Nakpil is critically acclaimed for promoting HIV and AIDS awareness. It was featured in the top-rating show Sharon (talk show) in June 2006 and was also aired internationally through The Filipino Channel. In August 2006, Dr. Gangcuangco was awarded the Y Idol Award (Youth Idol Award) by Studio 23’s Y Speak. Later that month, the Sentro ng Wikang Filipino conferred a Sertipiko ng Pagpapahalaga for Orosa-Nakpil, Malate. His novel is endorsed by prominent people and institutions including the multi-awarded director, José Javier Reyes, Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan (former Department of Health secretary) and Dr. Raul Destura of the National Institutes of Health Philippines.
Orosa-Nakpil, Malate became a National Book Store Best Seller in April 2007, making Dr. Gangcuangco one of the youngest best-selling authors in the Philippines. With him in the list were Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom of One More Day, James Patterson and Maxine Paetro of The 5th Horseman, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Memories of My Melancholy Whores. The book landed on the Top 8 spot, overtaking international authors Steve Berry and Kiran Desai.
Orosa-Nakpil, Malate, has been featured in several publications, including the Generation Pink Magazine’s The Great Escape Issue; The Flame: The Official Liberal Journal of the Humanities of the University of Sto. TomasIcon Magazine’s Career Issue; The Manila Collegian, The Nightmare Before Christmas Issue; and The Philippine Star’s My Favorite Book, Sunday Lifestyle.
In 2008, Dr. Gangcuangco published his second book, Gee, My Grades Are Terrific: A Student’s Guide to Academic Excellence, a self-help book for students. The English version of Orosa-Nakpil, Malate was released in September 2009 and the second edition of Gee My Grades Are Terrific was published in August 2011. Dr. Gangcuangco is considered one of the most influential authors of the Philippines, together with other pillars of Philippine literature: Dr. José RizalF. Sionil José and Lualhati Bautista.
Dr. Gangcuangco has served as a guest speaker for several universities in the Philippines, including the University of the Philippines ManilaUniversity of the Philippines Diliman, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, San Beda College, Philippine Normal University, and the American Chamber Foundation Philippines. He has delivered lectures on various topics including: homosexualityHIV-AIDS, and gay literature in the Philippines.

HIV research works

In 2010, Dr. Gangcuangco headed one of the largest HIV testing projects among men having sex with men in Metro Manila. The findings were presented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria[7] and was published at the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health.[8] The study entitled, "Prevalence and risk factors for HIV infection among men having sex with men in Metro Manila, Philippines," stirred national debate and attracted media attention because of the high HIV infection rate found among the participants.
In December 2011, Dr. Gangcuangco left his positions as faculty member of the San Beda College of Medicine and the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health to pursue HIV research fellowship at the Nagasaki Institute of Tropical Medicine. He is currently a clinical research associate at the Hawaii Center for AIDS. His research projects are focused on the cardio-metabolic complications of HIV and aging, neuro-cognitive dysfunction, and inflammation.
Dr. Gangcuangco is an associate member of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, International AIDS Society, and the American College of Physicians.