KUALA LUMPUR: Invaluable research findings, such as the use of larva to treat diabetic wound, has saved more than 5,000 diabetic patients from limb amputations and the Health Ministry hopes that more researchers will produce groundbreaking research such as this.
The research is one of the many conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR).
Out of the more than 6,000 patients being treated through the maggot debridement therapy, 90% of the patients have been saved from amputations, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
“Groundbreaking research is important as it could improve the well-being and health of Malaysians,” Dr Lee said to the media after launching the IMR Open Day yesterday.
In May, IMR Entomology expert Dr Nazni Wasi Ahmad was awarded the Dr Lee Jong-Wook Memorial Prize for Public Health during the 71st World Health Assembly for his research on insect or entomology that led to the use of the therapy.
Dr Lee said that a big pool of stem cells were needed to find the right match for patients and he invited the public to support the Malaysian Stem Cell Registry (MSCR), managed by the Allergy and Immunology Research Centre (AIRC) at IMR, by being a donor.
The setting up of the registry has led to yet another success story when it was reported last month that Muhammad Afif Zulfiqar, 18, recovered fully from leukaemia after being treated with blood stem cell transplant in 2013 from MSCR volunteer donors, he said.
The history of biomedical research in Malaysia started in 1900 with the setting up of the Pathology Institute by the British.
Then, scientific research was targeted at prevention and treatment of beriberi and malaria.
The Pathology Institute is now known as IMR, known internationally for its tropical diseases research.
Its Transplant Immunology at the AIRC is also the National Transplant Referral centre, which is important for organ and blood stem cell transplant while it also served as the National Referral Centre for cancer.
IMR provides special diagnostic test to government, private and university agencies.
The last IMR open day was in 2000.