9th ANRAP (Asian Network of Research on Anti-Diabetic Plants) International Seminar
KARACHI- The International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) and University of Karachi (UoK) recently hosted the 9th ANRAP (Asian Network of Research on Anti-Diabetic Plants) International Seminar based on “From Plant to Patient: Identification of New Drugs for Metabolic Disorders.”
Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), UoK organized this scientific forum, where around 350 national and foreign experts participated.
Various national and international Scientists expressed their views while delivering their plenary lectures at the session, calling Diabetes as one of the major health challenges of this millenium, turning into a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, worldwide.
The experts mentioned that in spite of knowing that there is no cure for Diabetes, even then around 625 million people are reported to be suffering from Diabetes across the globe. They also discussed the importance of Plant based medicines and how they play a significant role in global health.
Whilst delivering his key lecture, Prof. Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, former Chairman HEC and Federal Minister for Science and Technology, informed that nations today are not built by investing in brick and mortar, in roads and bridges or dams and power houses but stand tall by their ability to unleash creative potential of their youth, utilizing their talents for socio-economic development.
Based on these directives, Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman hopes that Pakistan will flourish under new leadership, changing its future directions from the production and export of natural resources or low value manufactured goods to the manufacture and export of high tech products.
He stressed that in order to bring about change, universities, industries and government needs to come together and strive to reach the ultimate goal.
About 100 million of our population is below the age of 19, which makes 56% of the total population. Our country needs to train manpower and establish high value added industries, ranging from electronics to engineering goods, pharmaceuticals to automobiles and from ship building to new and intelligent materials; he maintained.
ICCBS Director, Prof. Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary talked about current treatment modalities for diabetes and how they have been largely ineffective in achieving normal sugar levels, failing to delay the onset of diabetic complications. Therefore, new strategies for prevention and management of diabetes and its complications are required.
Furthermore, he disclosed that various surveys have been conducted throughout the country to find the effect of compounds. He mentioned about the Bio-bank, where number of plant extracts have been placed to assess their effects on different diseases.
As per Prof. Choudhary, this international center has obtained 44 U.S. patents in the last five years.
Bangladeshi Scientist, Dr Begum Rokeya added that dependence on natural products and herbal medicines for managing diabetes mellitus was an age-long practice in various parts of the globe.
A U.S. based Scholar, Prof. Dr Rafat A. Siddiqui said that people have been using plants as medicine long before pure chemicals were manufactured in laboratories. Evidence from the Middle Eastern grave site indicated that Neanderthal man consuming plant specimens as long as 50,000 years ago are still in use today as medicinal plants.
An analysis into the sources of new drugs from 1981 to 2007 reveals that almost half of the drugs approved since 1994 were based on natural products, Prof. Rafat stated.
Moreover, Turkish Scientist, Prof. Dr Bilge Sener delivered her talk on ‘Legal Requirements for the Evidence-Based Development of Herbal Medicines.’