Drugs for a more personalised medicine
Practising a more personalised medicine seems to be the best way to fight cancer – the disease that causes the most deaths in the world. This is at least the strategy advocated by Dr Manel Esteller, director of Cancer Epigenetics and Biology at the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL) and one of the most prestigious scientists in the world in this field.
For Esteller, who will be opening the second edition of the PharmaProcess Forum on 27 October at the Montjuïc Conference Centre with a presentation on epigenetics in the fight against cancer, there are three open fronts.
“One is practising a more personalised medicine based on a better understanding of the changes in the genetic material of a particular tumour in a particular patient. The second point is that we are asking ourselves about the cellular and molecular mechanisms that trigger metastasis. And the third is that we want to know more about what one part of the genome, which does not generate proteins and we call the dark genome, does.”
With a Bachelor of Medicine from the University of Barcelona in 1992 and a doctorate in 1996 with a thesis on the molecular genetics of endometrial carcinoma, Manel Esteller (1968), who undertook his postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, United States, is an international authority in the field of epigenetics, “the activity or function of genes that does not depend on the genetic sequence, that is to say, a form of fine regulation of our genome,” he explains.
The research conducted by Dr Esteller and his team has shown that “the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia feature epigenetic lesions, in the same way that other changes of this type are present in arteriosclerosis or autoimmune diseases.”
Manel Esteller views the pharmaceutical industry as the “natural ally” of scientists because it “enables us to show the true effectiveness of what we discover in the best conditions of health and legal safety.” And he advocates greater dialogue between science and industry. “Everything can be improved; for example, mixed doctorates could be offered by academic institutions and the pharmaceutical industry,” he says.
A more international PharmaProcess
With the aim of combining industry and knowledge, the PharmaProcess Forum has set up an advisory board, the International Advisory Board (IAB), which, consisting of six major representatives from the international pharmaceutical industry, has collaborated with the Scientific Committee in the selection of the event’s theoretical content.
PharmaProcess’s International Advisory Board consists of: Frans Maas, executive director of GEA Pharma Systems (Belgium); Koji Kawasaki, president of AIREX (Japan); Antonio Buendía, director of Manufacturing Process Control at NOVARTIS (Switzerland); Daniel Lachapelle, president of the Processes and Industry Division of FOSTER & WHEELER (Canada); Norm Medeiros, executive director of SANOFI PASTEUR (United States) and Raúl Díaz Varela, vice president of INDUKERN Group (Spain).