Gene Forum 2011, June 10-11, 2011
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eesti keeles

estonian genome foundation
Eesti Geenivaramu
EC Project OpenGENE


National Institute for Health Development

Tartu - heade mõtete linn

UK Trade&Investment


  Estonian Genome
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The 11th Gene Forum 2011 Genetics of Complex Phenotypes was held in Tartu

The eleventh annual international scientific conference on genomics and biomedicine Genetics of Complex Phenotypes was held in Tartu, June 10-11. According to the Director of the Estonian Genome Centre, Andres Metspalu, the sub-title of the Gene Forum means diagnosis and treatment of diseases that are ordinary, but medically complicated and complexly dependent on genetics, lifestyle and environment, such as cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. The presentations made at the conference focussed on the genetics and diagnostics of complex diseases, individualised drugs, individualised medicine and the impact of lifestyle on human genes and their manifestation. One of the most important subjects discussed at the conference concerned the opportunities of gene tests to guarantee the best possible treatment that suits every patient individually. 224 scientists, physicians, students, health officials, managers and investors from Estonia and abroad took part in the conference with 18 renowned speakers.

The main speaker at the conference was Prof. David Cox, one of the leading human genetics experts and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer, who focused on the application of human genetics to medicine and drug development. Cox said that instead of personalised medicine that is aimed at one person, we should also start discussing group medicine or more personal medicine that is aimed at a group of genetically similar people.

Prof. Yuan-Tsong Chen from Academica Sinica in Taiwan said that the side effects of drugs are a massive medical problem, as they cause 6-7% of all cases of hospitalisation. In his presentation, Prof. Chen introduced gene tests that help ascertain the drug sensitivity of people and thereby reduce the risks of possible adverse reactions.

Prof. Olga Golubnitschaja, the Secretary-General of the European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalised Medicine, spoke about the various aspects of preventive and personalised medicine and the importance of their implementation in the healthcare system.

Prof. Thomas Kirkwood of Newcastle University is a renowned researcher of the genetic causes of aging and evolution and he spoke about the different aspects of aging and the genetics of longevity proceeding from the so-called disposable soma theory. This theory claims that genes are capable of extending the life of an organism, but only if there is balance between the necessary resources and the advantages arising from longevity.

The Estonian scientists who spoke at the conference were Jaak Vilo, Professor of Bioinformatics of the University of Tartu, who said that the key to future medicine is the ability to analyse increasingly larger and more complex masses of data and Dr. Viljar Jaks, a research fellow of cell biology of the University of Tartu, who spoke about the functional similarity of hair follicle stem cells to adult stem cells.

The 11th Annual International Gene Forum was organised with the support of the University of Tartu, the National Institute for Health Development, City of Tartu and UK Trade & Investment.