Assistant Vice Chancellor (Medical-Dental Campus, UiTM, Sungai Buloh-Selayang, Selangor)
Biography: ABU BAKAR ABDUL MAJEED, a Registered Pharmacist with Malaysia’s Board of Pharmacy, has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from el-Zagazig University, Egypt (1983), PhD in Neurophysiology from Sheffield University, United Kingdom (1988), and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (1996). He was awarded the International Brain Research Organisation (IBRO) Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Laboratory for Neural Information Processing, RIKEN in 1992 and Visiting Scientist a year later.
Between 1997 and 2002 ABU BAKAR was Senior Fellow at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), and also a newspaper columnist of the Saturday edition of the New Straits Times, Malaysia, writing over 100 articles on issues pertaining to Science, Civilisation and Ethics. He was awarded two fellowships in year 2000, the Straniak Fellowship at the Centre for European Integration Studies, Bonn, Germany, and the International Visitors’ Program of the U.S. State of Department on ‘Religion and Society’.
In 2002 Abu Bakar was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). Between 2009 and 2014 he was Assistant Vice-Chancellor (AVC) for Research, UiTM. Currently, he is AVC for UiTM Medical and Dental Campus, Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
Abu Bakar is a council member of the Pharmacy Board, Ministry of Health (2016-2019), and Chairman of the National Bioethics Council, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (2016-2018)
Abu Bakar has written and edited over 20 academic books, and has more than 100 research articles published in respectable journals. His research areas are Alzheimer’s disease, nanopharmacy and bioethics.
Proposed Talk 1: Updates on drug discovery of the neurodegenerative disorder - Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was first diagnosed over a century ago. Despite the huge amount of energy and money put into ways to resolve this menace, AD remains recalcitrant. The global prevalence of AD was estimated at 35 million in 2010. The number is projected to rise to 65.69 and 115.38 million in 2030 and 2050, respectively. In South Asia, the expected increase is 400% from 2010 to 2050. For India, in 2005 the prevalence and incidence were 3,248.5K and 1,026.8K. These are anticipated to increase to prevalence of 16,290.1K and incidence of 4,974.6K in 2050. For Pakistan the numbers for 2005 are 330.1K and 107.3K, while for 2050, 1,916.2K and 584.3K respectively. In 2006 Malaysia recorded the number of people living with AD at 63,000 from the then population of 23.4 million. This number is expected to double in 2020, and reach close to half a million in 2050. Symptoms of AD are referred to as the five A’s: Amnesia (loss of memory), Aphasia (impaired language skills), Apraxia (inability to perform routine tasks), Agnosia (failure to recognize objects, persons or sounds) and Associated signs. Associated signs of AD are inability to speak properly, incapacity to care for oneself like being unmindful of personal hygiene, loss of cognitive skills, impaired judgment, being indecisive, and unmindful of the surrounding. Presently, there is no cure for AD. At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen (July 12-17, 2014), it was stated that little new thing actually came out of the meeting. This talk will discuss drug discovery efforts in the alleviation of symptoms of AD.
Proposed Talk 2: Timely diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease – an integrated OMICS approach
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is generally related to old age, especially in those over 60 years. AD is manifested by irreversible and relentless deteriorations in behaviour and personality. Major symptoms include decline in intellectual abilities, manifested by thinking, memory and judgemental impairment. This ranges from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to severe dementia. AD is known to be the most significant contributor to dementia. Dementia tremendously reduces the quality of life of the patient, who typically succumbs to the disease in 4-8 years. More than 60% of AD patients made their first contact for treatment at the moderate or severe stage of illness, corresponding to 9-11 years after the onset of the first symptoms. The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can only be made with certainty post-mortem, by histological examination of brain tissue or, rarely, following brain biopsy. Currently, the diagnosis is often not made at all, or made very late in the process by which time cognitive impairment, disability and behavioural symptoms may be all quite marked. One aim may therefore be to advance the time at which the diagnosis is made to the earliest stage possible using current routinely available diagnostic technologies and health system structures. A European primary care consortium has qualified this aim by proposing that we should aim for ‘timely’ rather than ‘early’ diagnosis, responding to concerns raised by older people and family members rather than screening older populations proactively for early signs and symptoms. In principle, it may be possible to advance the diagnosis much earlier by improving the predictive validity of the prodromal risk indicators based upon cognitive decline and subjective impairment. One widely advocated approach is the incorporation of disease biomarkers that may indirectly represent the extent of underlying neuropathology. This talk will present efforts currently undertaken to identify blood based biomarkers using an integrated approach of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics.