Symposium “Using genomic medicine in the fight against chronic diseases”

Simposio Uso de la Medicina Genómica en la lucha contra las enfermedades crónicas

Mexico City / May 2, 2011

Today was held at Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, the Symposium “Using genomic medicine in the fight against chronic diseases” organized by the Carlos Slim Health Institute and  National Institute of Genomic Medicine inthe framework of Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine.

As from the among Carlos Slim Health Institute, National Institute of Genomic Medicine and MIT Broad Institute, it was created the initiative started in 2010 which aim is stimulating the development of capacity in genomic research in Mexico and encourage the genomic knowledge  translation in preventive,  prophylactic and diagnostic elements and therapeutic, availables for entire population, using the most revolutionary innovations in research and shaped by a series of integrated strategies in three components: research, training human resources and integration of genomics research network in Mexico.

Welcoming remarks to Symposium, Dr. Roberto Tapia, Director General of Carlos Slim Health Institute, said that as to objective of integrating a national scientists network in genomics, through the research component have already joined 15 national institutions, including universities, research institutes and medical institutions. The expectation is to continue adding institutions throughout the project which is expected to increase genomics research capacity in the country.

As for research component,  initiative aims is to establish the genetic basis of  diabetes mellitus type 2 and some cancers, diseases with great impact on our country and the world.

- Sub-projecto objective is analyze 8,000 diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) samples and controls from Mexican or Latin American  origin to identify common and rare mutations, in order to generate information on the biological basis the disease in this population.

- Sub-cancer project includes extensive analysis of at least 560 samples from Mexico and other regions of at least seven types of cancer for a classification of the mutations present in them and understand the critical cellular mechanisms that cause.

Each sub-project has a Mexican leader and other one of Broad Institute, in both cases with expertise and capacity scientists. To Diabetes Project leaders are Dr. Teresa Tusie (UNAM), Dr. David Altshuler and Dr. Jose Florez (Broad Institute). In the case of cancer, leaders are Dr. Jorge Melendez (INMEGEN) and Dr. Todd Golub (Broad Institute). Additionally, each type of cancer has a leader in Mexico as in the case of Dr. Alfredo Hidalgo (INMEGEN) in breast cancer.

After a year to have started the Initiative, it has progressed according to schedule and interesting discoveries have been made, they will be broadcast soon through scientific publications and dissemination of science.

As part of the awareness component, scientific events have been organized as the Dr. Eric Lander Conference given in October 2010 at INMEGEN or these Symposium that takes place within framework of the of the Second Meeting of  Scientific Advisory Committee Initiative. Additionally, it has realized dissemination of te subject through journals, social networks and websites of Carlos Slim Health Institute.

The specialists for Symposium are:

Dr. Eric Lander, Broad Institute founder and Director and Director of Genomic Biology Program of these institution, one of the leading researchers of Human Genome Project in the world, presented the Lecture “Genomic Medicine Slim Initiative: Progress and prospects”, describing the impressive scientific progress since the initial sequence of human genome and perspectives on technology, biology and disease.

Also Dr. Lander, other 4 world leadtook part in the Symposium:

Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of Research Cancer Institute of Ontario Canada, present the lecture “Large-scale genomics to cancer” in which stand up examples of projects in which are investigating two types of cancer mutations: legacy and tumoral. Also  e explain  how genome association studies have allowed identified a number of factors that contribute to increased predisposition to cancer.

Dr. David Nathan, Harvard University School  Medicine Professor and Director of Clinical Research Center and Diabetes Center in Massachusetts, spoke about “The genetic roles in the fight against the diabetes epidemic”, said that changes in lifestyle, particularly with the transition from agricultural and industrial economy to actual societies based in services and informatics, it have resulted in increases in life expectancy, but also increases in obesity and a decrease in physical activity levels, which has exposed the genetic risk of diabetes.

Dr. Carlos Bustamante, prominent professor of genetics presented the conference “The promise of personalized genomics in Latin America: A Perspective on Population Genomics”, which talked about the issue of how variations in DNA, can bias the current understanding in genetic bases of complex diseases and why Latin America should be better represented in the new generation of medical genomics.

El Dr. Xavier Soberón, General Director  of National Institute of Genomic Medicine, presented the conference “Research in INMEGEN: national context and international entailment”, which described one of the main challenges of INMEGEN, the one proposed by affecting various groups of diseases that represent greater burden to health systems, from new opportunities offered by personalized medicine and genomic approaches.

The event was attended by over 400 specialists and researchers from various institutions of the country, and was followed live via the Internet and Twitter for more than 1,500 people.

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