CYPRIOT genetic experts yesterday praised the importance of DNA research in disease diagnosis and treatment.

“DNA research offers many promising prospects in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases,” Philippos Patsalis, Chief Executive Medical Director of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING).

Patsalis was speaking at a news conference to present the Institute’s work on the occasion of World DNA day, celebrated on April 25.

Referring to the achievements of the Institute, Patsalis recalled the recent publication by the Cytogenetics and Genomics Department, which he heads, on a pioneering worldwide Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis for Down’s Syndrome, which constitutes “a milestone in prenatal diagnosis” he said.

He said that the Institute had the biggest infrastructure in the region and enjoyed international recognition in the field of genetics.

Furthermore, the President of the Institute’s Molecular Genetics, Function & Therapy department Leonidas Phylactou said that his department’s staff had traced unique errors in genes which are responsible for hereditary diabetes.

He did not elaborate as the results of the research have not yet been officially published.

“Our aim is – having established that these genetic errors are unique – to study the damage they cause to cells,” he added.

Referring to the effects of radiation on humans, Patsalis said great exposure to radiation damaged vital organs, including DNA mutation.

“The exposure of cells to radiation is the easiest way to cause DNA errors, which could pass on from one generation to the next, which means miscarriages or birth of children with serious genetic problems,” he added.

Other research facets of the Institute were also presented, such as their study into what causes cancer.  Head of the Department of Electron Microscopy and Molecular Pathology Kyriakos Kyriakou said that as part of the research, both communities on the island have taken part  in order to gather information on the factors involved in the development of common types of cancer, such as breast, prostate and colon that relate to lifestyle, diet and hereditary factors.

Kyriakou said that since 2005 they have been offering an immediate diagnostic service for Cypriot families with a history of breast cancer.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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