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A valuable fly for research into disease

and pharmacological tests that aim to identify target genes as well as compounds that may lead to future therapies. Moreover, more and more companies that exploit this model system are being established worldwide. In order to highlight the potential of applied science, the organizers of this conference have invited two of the main pharmaceutical companies currently making considerable investments into research using Drosophila: En Vivo Pharmaceuticals, in the US, and VASTox in Oxford, UK.

Drug addiction, cancer and heart disease

"What can a fly tell us about drug addiction?" is the title of a talk by the University of California's Ulrike Heberlein, a pioneer in drug abuse research using Drosophila. Her research group focuses on the possible links between genes and behaviour caused by drug abuse and the mechanisms that regulate responses to psychostimulants such as alcohol, cocaine and nicotine.

Drosophila is a key tool for studying certain aspects of cancer, and research into the development and proliferation of tumours will be a main topic of the conference. Ross Cagan, from the University of Washington, will present his recent research on a drug that has a direct effect on tumour progression. Cayetano González, from IRB Barcelona, will discuss his work on stem cells and cancer; and Ginés Morata, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, will address apoptosis and tumourous transformation.

Heart disease is another topic that has recently been added to the list of diseases studied using Drosophila. Rolf Bodmer, from The Burnham Institute in the US, has begun to use this model to study arrhythmias and heart failure. His presentation "Arrhythmias and cardiac failure: the Drosophila model of congenital heart disease" will highlight the latest results in this field.


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Source:Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB)


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