From basic science to the bedside: APS conference takes stock of lung disease

BETHESDA, MD When researchers completed the human genome map in 2000, they still faced a complex puzzle: What role does each of the 24,000 human genes and the thousands more proteins they produce, play in various illnesses?

Researchers and medical doctors who deal with lung disease will take stock of the progress toward answering that question at The American Physiological Society conference "Physiological Genomics and Proteomics of Lung Disease," Nov. 2-5 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The conference comes amid giant leaps in knowledge of genes and proteins and also in the face of recent advances in bioinformatics (the use of computer hardware and software to analyze large amounts of biological information).

It is now possible to find the proverbial needle in a haystack by analyzing "tons of data," said J. Usha Raj, the chief of neonatology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, professor of pediatrics at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine and chair of the conference organizing committee. Scientists are using these advances to identify the genes and proteins implicated in diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), she said.

"This is a conference where the latest advances in computer technology, genomics (the study of the hereditary information encoded in the DNA) and proteomics (the study of proteins, which the genes instruct the body to produce) are being applied to the treatment and prevention of diseases," Raj noted. "We have doctors who want to jump in and take these basic science advances to the bedside."

The conference will "provide a relaxed environment where established researchers and young investigators alike can present and examine the most recent experimental discoveries and discuss ways to translate these discoveries for clinical use," the organizers said. Researchers and clinicians can use the information to fight diseases such as:

  • Asthma, a chronic disease in which the inside wall

Contact: Christine Guilfoy
American Physiological Society

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