On December 16, 2016, the “Inspiring Genomics—J.Craig Venter's visit in China” event held by Genetron Health was launched in Beijing. People present at the gathering include Mr. J.Craig Venter, academician of the American National Academy of Sciences and chairman of the board of Human Longevity Inc., Zhang Yaping, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cao Xuetao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, ZengYixin, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wang Xiaofan, professor at Duke University in the U.S., Wu Hao, academician of the American National Academy of Sciences and professor at Harvard University, Professor Fu Xinyuan, renowned molecular biologist and biochemist, among other world famous scholars in life science, JiJiafu, director at Peking University Cancer Hospital, Zhang Liwei, director at Beijing Tian Tan Hospital of Capital Medical University, Li Wenbin, chief physician at Beijing Shijitan Hospital of Capital Medical University, among other clinical medical specialists, Mr. He Weiwu, chairman of the board of OriGene Technologies Co., Ltd., Professor Yan Hai (chief scientist), Mr. Wang Sizhen (CEO), and Mr. Hong Ying (COO) from Genetron Health Co., Ltd., Mr. Li Xu, general deputy manager of VCANBIO Cell & Gene Engineering Co., Ltd., Mr. Wang Yinxiang, co-founder and president of Betta Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., Mr. Sun Jiandong, general manager at the Strategic Cooperation Department of Baidu, among other industrial leaders, Mr. Yu Jianming, founding partner of New Horizon Capital Co., Ltd., Mr. Zhang Jiang, general manager of Pingan Ventures Co., Ltd., Mr. Qiu Jianwei, vice president of Taikang Community Co., Ltd., among other elite investors, as well as personnel from several top financial, health and genetic media. The latest research results in genomics and application of genetic technologies, among other hot topics were discussed at the meeting.
Picture: Scene of the event
As mentioned in the address of Mr. He Wuwei, host of the gathering and chairman of the board of OriGene Technologies Co., Ltd. Mr. J.Craig Venter, hailed as the “leading scientist of the 21st century”, was a participant of the Human Genome Program, who helped finishing the project ahead of schedule. Mr. Venter and his team used computer to design and formed the first artificial living entity in the lab with the chemical approach. On top of that, he made another breakthrough in life science this year—an artificial cell containing only 473 genes were designed and made.
Picture: Mr. He Wuwei giving a speech
At the subsequent keynote speech, Mr. Venter briefed the guests on the significance, the latest results and future goals of genomics research, and elaborated on its application in fighting aging-related diseases. In his words, “each entity’s unique gene sequence indicates its/his/her biological traits and proper treatment it/he/she can receive. Locus mutations found through genetic sequencing may give a more reasonable explanation to illness mechanisms at the molecular level. At present, we have completed in-depth genetic sequencing of 10,000 people, discovering over 150 million genetic mutations. The discovery of these mutations marks the beginning of the health science era, unlocking the possibility of figuring out the relationship between genotypes, phenotypes and various kinds of traits of the living thing. “In addition, we have obtained clinical samples and data on healthy people through cooperation with multiple enterprises. Thanks to big data calculation and analysis, we may predict the biological traits and aging trend of a living creature, so as to further elongate people’s life and improve their health through interventions and change of lifestyle, among other means,” said Mr. Venter.
Picture: Mr. J.Craig Venter making a keynote speech
China, as a pillar in genomics study, continues to play an essential role in the international arena. “Though a latecomer in genomics study, China is the only developing country participating in the human genome program, taking on 1% of the sequencing workload.” According to Cao Xuetao, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, director of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and headmaster of the Peking Union Medical College, we are facing both challenges and opportunities. Catching up on innovative research has always been a challenge to us, while air pollution, an aging society, urbanization and population migration, among other issues, are challenging us in new manners. In face of these obstacles, not only do we require policy support, but also need to focus on research in basic sciences and its clinical application. We should also learn about advanced tools from the West.
Figure: “The Challenges and Opportunities of Medical Research in China”, a keynote speech given by academician Cao Xuetao
As we enter the era of functional genomics, the application of genetic techniques in cancer diagnosis and treatment is grabbing much attention at present. “The abundant information provided by genomics can be utilized to identify the cause, progress and possible cancer mutations, and to design drugs based on known genetic sequences and functions,” said Yan Hai, chaired professor at Duke University and chief scientist of Genetron Health, in his keynote speech. “Devoting much of its effort to research and clinical application of genomic techniques to treat cancers, Genetron Health aims at providing reliable molecular-level diagnoses and treatments, as well as professional genetic risk assessment of caner for cancer patients, as well as vulnerable and healthy people by adopting genetic techniques and cooperating with clinical and research experts.”
Picture: “Applications of Genomics Technologies in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment”, a keynote speech delivered by professor Yan Hai
Later, the guests moved on to discuss about clinical applications of genetic technologies, the difference in industrial environment between China and the US, and the future of genetic technologies, among other issues.
Figure: Discussion at the gathering
In recent years, as a hot topic in the forefront of life science study, genomics has remained a subject of interest and focal point of researchers and clinical personnel. Both structural genomics, targeting full genome sequencing, and functional genomics, aiming at genetic function identification, are contributing to bringing the secrets of life to light. As a forerunner in targeted diagnoses and treatments of cancer, Genetron Health will join force with other interested parties to push forward genomics research, accelerate its clinical applications, and make due contributions to improving, maintaining and managing public health, conquering cancers and enhancing life quality.