Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MEDGENET — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31968
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Italy

Unravelling Mediterranean diseases

The genetic pool around the Mediterranean has its own chronic diseases that plague the region's population. Introducing European expertise through partnerships and tele-counselling holds much promise for addressing these diseases.
Unravelling Mediterranean diseases
Countries around the Mediterranean are epidemiologically important for medical scientists and researchers as they share many common genetic diseases. The EU-funded project 'Euro-Mediterranean network for genetic services' (Medgenet) encouraged knowledge transfer between the EU and its Mediterranean partner countries regarding clinical genetics and cancer genetics.

The project successfully built strong partnerships, bringing Mediterranean nations much closer to the EU's health initiatives. Noteworthy among these was the link between Medgenet and Université Saint Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon which strongly illustrated the general level of commitment on the Mediterranean side. Other notable links were formed with the Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Cairo University, Egypt and the Chronic Care Centre in Lebanon, which have both sent students for advanced genetics courses in Italy. These and other institutions have also invited European geneticists to participate in seminars or lectures.

In addition, Medgenet implemented remote training systems and tele-counselling, enabling students, doctors and stakeholders to follow courses held in Italy. This scheme continued beyond the project duration and prompted Université Mustapha in Egypt and the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Cyprus, among others, to seek permanent set-ups in this respect. A good example of collaboration is the link between the Ministry of Health in Israel and a research body in Italy.

The project also ensured that e-learning courses and multimedia material were available to partner institutes around the Mediterranean. It developed two databases reflecting genetic expression in the region and which can be used in future projects to address Mediterranean diseases and propose solutions. Key diseases that could benefit from the databases include dysmorphology and thalassaemia.

The network of collaboration is growing even after the project's end and is expected to bring many benefits with it. The partnerships and emerging data may finally provide answers to difficult regional diseases.

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