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Invitation: Conference on Neurodegenerative Diseases, September 6-9, 2006, Berlin, Germany28.08.2006 - (idw) Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Dear Sir or Madam,
Clinicians and genome researchers are moving closer together. Molecular biological relationships are playing an ever more important role in disease etiology. The so-called systems biology research approach also includes the research of gene products, the proteins, and their interactions.
For the first time, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin Buch is hosting an international conference with genome researchers and clinicians from Europe, Japan, Canada, and the US together with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Bonn under the umbrella of the National Genome Research Network (NGFN). They will discuss the latest insights gained with the help of gene and protein research in the study of neurodegenerative diseases.
It is a great pleasure for me to invite you to this conference entitled
"Neurodegenerative Diseases: Molecular Mechanisms in a Functional Genomics Framework"
Wednesday to Saturday, September 6 - 9, 2006
Max Delbrück Communications Center (MDC.C)
13125 Berlin, Germany
The press conference for this meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 7, 11:40 a.m. also at the Max Delbrück Communications Center (MDC.C) in Berlin-Buch.
You will find the program of the confernece on the Internet at http://www.smp-protein.de/SMPConference/program.htm#, the program for the press conference, and an RSVP form which I ask you to please fill out and send back to me at the MDC Press Office at http://www.mdc-berlin.de/englisch/about_the_mdc/public_relations/e_index.htm
Travel directions and a campus map can be viewed on the Internet at
I would be very pleased to welcome you at this conference in Berlin.
Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's chorea, and Parkinson's disease are counted among the neurodegenerative diseases. In these still incurable diseases, the nerve cells progressively die and mental decline, severe motor disorders, and the loss of various physical functions lead, over the course of several years, to death.
Against this background of an increasingly aging population in the Western industrial countries, neurodegenerative diseases, which usually occur in an advanced phase of life, are gaining increasing significance. Scientists estimate that some 20 per cent of people over 80 years of age will suffer from dementia, and in the group of 90 years and older, the rate will be more than one-third, around 35 per cent.
The causes are a combination of genetic disposition and acquired disturbances in protein metabolism and in protein degradation that lead to the deposit of insoluble protein fragments in the nerve cells, triggering their death as is the case in the most common neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer's disease. According to scientists` estimates alone in the US approximately 4.5 million individuals are affected, and in the European Union almost 5 million individuals are affected by Alzheimer`s and other dementia.
From functional genomics research, scientists and clinicians not only hope to identify disease-related genes and their proteins and to decode their function in the organism. Rather, from the insights gained, they also hope to develop therapies which directly intervene at the molecular level of disease genesis.
Among the speakers at the conference in Berlin will be Prof. Michael Hayden of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics in Vancouver, Canada. He will give a lecture on the identification of new targets to attack Huntington's chorea. Prof. Ron Kopito of Stanford University in Stanford, California, USA, will speak about the cellular and molecular mechanisms to suppress the formation of harmful protein deposits. Prof. Robert Korneluk of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, will report on experiments to specifically stop the dying of nerve cells by means of proteins which regulate apoptosis, programmed cell death.
Organizers of the four-day event are the Berlin genome researcher Prof. Erich Wanker (MDC) with his NGFN project on protein-protein interactions (SMP-Protein for short) - his lab recently created a unique map of the human protein network -, the human geneticist Prof. Karl Sperling (Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany) - head of the Special Research Area 577 of the German Research Foundation (DFG) to identify the genetic factors that lead to different phenotypes of monogenic diseases -, and Prof. Thomas Klockgether of the Department of Neurology, University of Bonn, Germany, spokesperson of the DFG (German Research Foundation) Research Group 427, which is studying spinocerebellar ataxia type 3, a hereditary disease, in which motor abilities, sense of balance, and ability to speak are progressively lost. The onset age of this incurable nerve disease is between 30 and 40.
The conference will begin on Wednesday, September 6 with an evening event in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) in Berlin Mitte, Markgrafenstr. 38, 10117 Berlin, during which Prof. Richard I. Morimoto of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (USA), will deliver the keynote lecture.
The second keynote lecture will be given by Prof. Hans Lehrach (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany) on Thursday, September 7 in the Max Delbrück Communications Center (MDC.C) in Berlin-Buch: "From functional genomics to systems biology". Please note that the MDC.C is located on the Berlin-Buch Campus in the North of the Berlin, in the Robert Roessle Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin.
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