WASHINGTON, D.C. (Friday, April 25, 2008) - Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood released the following statement today in observance of National DNA Day:
“Today we celebrate National DNA Day to commemorate the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953 and the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003. These advancements provide the basis for biotechnology innovators to develop remarkable therapies, cures and technologies that address global health, hunger and environmental challenges.
“The completion of the Human Genome Project has ushered in a new genomic era. Scientific advances in genomics have led to the development of new genetic-based diagnostics and therapeutics that have the potential to bring us into an era of more effective, personalized, predictive, and preemptive medicine. We commend Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, for his leadership in this groundbreaking research.
“To date, biotechnology has created more than 200 new therapies and vaccines, including products to treat cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and autoimmune disorders. There are more than 400 biotech drug products and vaccines currently in clinical trials targeting more than 200 diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and a host of rare diseases. Biotechnology also is responsible for hundreds of medical diagnostic tests that keep the blood supply safe from the AIDS virus and detect other conditions early enough to be successfully treated. Biotechnology is leading to increased crop yields to help us feed growing world demand. Biopesticides and other agricultural products also are being used to improve our food supply and to reduce our dependence on conventional chemical pesticides. And biotechnology has led to a variety of renewable, sustainable sources of energy that help increase our nation’s energy security.
“This year, National DNA Day is also marked by the passage of landmark legislation to ensure that patients will not be discriminated against based on their genetic information. BIO has been a strong supporter of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and commends the U.S. Senate for unanimously passing this important legislation. By removing the threat of genetic discrimination, GINA will ensure that patients benefit from advances in science and technology.
“Even as we celebrate how far we come, we recognize that we are only at the beginning of a remarkable journey. Our expanding understanding of DNA and the human genome, made possible by the discoveries we celebrate today, will fuel even more remarkable scientific and medical advances to come. We join the entire U.S. biotechnology community in celebrating National DNA Day and moving forward in our quest to heal, feed and fuel the world.”
Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will participate in a Super Session on cutting-edge genome technologies and their applications to diagnosis and treatment of disease at the 2008 BIO International Convention to be held in San Diego, CA from June 17-20th. For more information on the global event for biotechnology including the program, registration, and housing information, please visit www.bio2008.org.
Upcoming BIO Events
· World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
April 27-30, 2008
· 2008 BIO International Convention
June 17-20, 2008
San Diego, Calif.
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· Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
Sept. 10-12, 2008
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. www.bio.org