Mexican Tycoon Gives $65 Million to Genetic Study

By: E. Eduardo Castillo - AP Writer
By: E. Eduardo Castillo - AP Writer

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim pledged
$65 million Tuesday for genetic research on cancer, type 2 diabetes
and kidney disease.

Scientists from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and Mexico's National Institute of Genomic Medicine will
collaborate on the three-year Slim Genomic Medicine Initiative.

Slim, who heads the Grupo Carso conglomerate and is one of the
world's richest men, said the project will help doctors better
diagnose diseases and improve therapies.

"Only with the development of this genomic science and
surrounding technology will it be possible, as it was before with
vaccines, to face these diseases and prevent these diseases through
their early detection, their early diagnosis," he said.

Eric S. Lander, president and director of the Broad Institute, a
joint project of Harvard and MIT, said investigators will use about
10,000 samples to study the three diseases. Researchers will
analyze seven types of cancer, likely including breast cancer, he
said.

Their diabetes research will focus on Mexico and Latin America,
where diabetes is one of the most common inherited diseases.

Scientists aim to understand the diseases' genomic bases, not
develop treatments.

"The project alone cannot possibly produce treatments in three
years," Lander said.

Funding for the research will come from the Carlos Slim Health
Institute, which Slim founded three years ago to improve medical
care for Latin America's neediest families.

Slim said the project is meant to support Mexican research and
is not a business venture.

"Grupo Carso is not thinking of this as a commercial matter. It
is totally a project with two objectives: One, to perform this
investigation and disseminate it worldwide so that there are other
contributions to general knowledge; the other, to try in some way
for this to push and support more research in Mexico," he said.


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