Meet on molecular cardiology

The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in association with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is organising a three-day workshop on Translating Molecular Cardiology into Clinical Practice in Thiruvananthapuram.

The programme will begin on August 6. Sixteen scientists from the Oklahoma foundation and 15 invited participants from India will rub shoulders with 100 other scientists and students at the meeting, which is expected to lead to the creation of an Indo-US Centre for Translational Cardiovascular Medicine.

Novel tests

A concept note on the workshop prepared by the RGCB pointed out that techniques in molecular cardiology are being increasingly employed to develop novel diagnostic tests for the early detection of cardiovascular diseases and to develop therapeutic strategies.

In addition to giving rise to new developments in genetics and molecular biology, which advocate innovative ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating even the most severe forms of heart disease, research in molecular cardiology has also led to the identification of new gene abnormalities.

This, in turn, has furthered the understanding on how gene mutations lead to cardiovascular diseases.

However, very few of such accomplishments have reached the bedsides of those with CVD, the concept note said. Even fewer triumphs have been recorded on the screening and prevention front.

In the United States, remarkable progress has been made, both by academicians and by the pharmaceutical industry, in the development of innovative therapies for CVDs.

In India too, laboratories and research institutions have initiated several programmes in areas such as targeted therapeutics, cardiac stem cells and gene therapy. It is thus imperative to have a forum for the exchange of ideas between researchers in India and abroad.

According to the estimates of the World Health Organisation, 60 per cent of the world's cardiac patients will, by 2010, be of Indian origin. Nearly 50 per cent of CVD-related deaths occur in the below-70 age group. The corresponding figure in the West is 22 per cent.

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