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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The genomics of cancer and infectious diseases, under the spotlight in the June BIOCAPS seminars

Free registration is open for the final two scientific seminars organised by IBI before summer

The latest scientific breakthroughs in the genomics of cancer and infectious diseases will be presented at the two seminars to be held by the Biomedical Research Institute (IBI) in June within the framework of the BIOCAPS programme. Free registration is now open for both these seminars, to which all researchers and physicians in the Galician biomedical community are invited.

Genomics is an essential discipline for the study of cancer, which is known to be a disease of the genome. In the morning session on June 4th, scientists from both Spanish and UK centres will present their work in this field, all of which has been undertaken using the very latest genome sequencing techniques, at the AFundación building in Vigo.

“These techniques have allowed us to make significant progress in the characterisation of point mutations and structural alterations in a wide range of cancers over the past 10 years”, explains David Posada, a researcher in the New Diagnostic Tools and Therapy area at BIOCAPS and organiser of the seminar. In addition, sequencing of the whole genome for a significant number of cancer types has allowed researchers to gain a broad overview of the evolution of these diseases.

Javier Herrero, head of the genome data analysis node at the UCL Cancer Institute (London), will discuss leukaemia, whereas Lorenzo Melchor, from the Institute of Cancer Research, also in London, will explain his findings concerning myeloma and bone marrow cancer. Nuria López-Bigas, from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), will present her techniques for identifying cancer driver genes and the routes she is exploring to take advantage of their therapeutic potential.

José Manuel Tubío, from the University of Cambridge, will explain the role of the Pan-Cancer initiative, an international effort to analyse molecular aberrations in thousands of cancer samples. Finally, Ignacio Varela, from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, will explain his progress in the application of genome sequencing techniques to identify the molecular pathways involved in the progress of cancer and metastasis.

The programme and registration are available until 2 June.

From tuberculosis to Ebola

The seminar to be held on June 19th, again at the AFundación building in Vigo, will focus on infectious diseases. This seminar, which will last all day, will cover aspects related to the prevention, development of vaccines, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on recent events.

“Leading researchers and physicians will present the most recent breakthroughs in this field, which will allow us to gain a more in-depth understanding of various aspects of these diseases and result in better coordination between laboratory research, medicine and public health systems”, states Luis Anibarro from the Infectious Diseases area at BIOCAPS and organiser of the seminar, together with Silvia Lorenzo and África González.

The speakers will present their latest research on Ebola, chikungunya (which is of major epidemic importance in America and the Caribbean), tuberculosis (the infectious disease responsible for the highest number of deaths worldwide after HIV and which is highly prevalent in Galicia), animal-transmitted diseases such as rickettsiosis and others with a high mortality and for which highly relevant diagnostic and therapeutic breakthroughs have recently been made, such as hepatitis, joint prosthesis infections or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The seminar will be attended by leading scientists in this field from St. George's, University of London, the Spanish National Biotechnology Centre, the Hospital 12 de Octubre, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, the Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge, the Centre for Biomedical Research of La Rioja and the Complexo Hospitalario de Pontevedra.

Registration is open until June 17th. Further details of the programme are already available.