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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-12-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics is processing and promoting new diagnostic methods for Down`s syndrome and Thalassemia, for which the diagnosis will be made with the blood samples of the pregnant woman and not amniotic fluid cells.

    The Institute and its Chief Executive Medical Director Dr. Philippos C. Patsalis are aiming at further improving and upgrading the quality of life of Cypriots, irrespective of religion and national origin, as well as at the strengthening of the regional role of Cyprus in the sectors of neurology, genetics and biomedical science in general.

    In an interview with CNA, Dr. Patsalis said that equally important is the Institute`s research on breast cancer, for which specific genes have been mapped, as well as the diagnostic methods for breast and ovarian cancer, while research for the reprogramming of muscular cells are at an advanced stage.

    Dr. Patsalis also referred to the role of the Institute in identifying the remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons in Cyprus, noting however that he could not provide data on the subject, since the project has been undertaken by the United Nations, political persons, governmental departments and the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.

    The Institute`s research team, under the guidance of Director of the Department of Biochemical Genetics Anthi Droushiotou, has prepared a special informative pamphlet on Sandhoff disease, with which the Cypriot population is informed, especially the Maronites, on the necessity of diagnostic examinations at the Institute, to detect the carriers and prevent this severe hereditary metabolic disorder characterised by rapid neurological deterioration leading to death before the age of four years.

    According to the results of the Institute`s research, one in seven Maronites in Cyprus is a carrier of a transmutated gene. Two novel mutations have been described. As a result of this research, diagnostic services have been set up for the detection of carriers and for prenatal diagnosis

    The Institute, Dr. Patsalis said, is world-renowned and plays an active and substantive role as a regional research centre, providing high-level services and training.

    The dynamic and continuous success of the Institute, he added, lies with the research programmes in medical issues that are directly related to the needs of the country and those of the region.

    ``The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics is one of the few research organisations in Cyprus, which actively contributes to the production of new knowledge,`` Dr. Patsalis pointed out.

    The Institute was established in 1990 and moved to its current purpose-built premises in 1995 after a generous donation from the United States, through the Cyprus office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

    It is a bicommunal, non-profit making institution. Its staff specialises in neurology, molecular biology and all aspects of human genetics. It has an international reputation and works closely with the Cyprus Government, private doctors and scientists, the University of Cyprus as well as other institutions and universities from abroad.

    The Institutes staff consists of 150 persons as follows, of which 40 hold MDs and PhDs in neurology, genetics and other related sciences. However, Dr. Patsalis pointed out the increased needs and the waiting lists for specialised tests and therapies.

    Dr. Patsalis noted that some patients may have to wait up to six months and that this waiting period could be significantly shortened if the state increased grants and approved the employment of more staff.

    The research programmes are currently funded by organisations in Cyprus and abroad, with the grants reaching 1,600,000 euros in 2007.

    Furthermore, the Institute has signed over a hundred agreements for cooperation with universities and research institutes abroad, has had many publications in approved world scientific journals, and has been awarded a total of 22 prizes for scientific work.


    On the occasion of the ``International Human Rights Day`` on December 10, to mark the 60th anniversary of the passage of the United Nations ``Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the organisation Lobby for Cyprus calls attention to the ongoing violation of human rights of Greek Cypriots in the illegally occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Since 1974, Turkey has occupied more than thirty-seven per cent of Cyprus, during which human-rights violation after violation has been cited and condemned for by world bodies, said Lobby spokesman Theo Theodorou,.

    He said that Turkey has violated a multitude of UN resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council including: failing to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus, failing to immediately withdraw its occupation forces, failing to allow all refugees to return to their homes in conditions of safety, failing to stop taking actions which are intended to change the demographic structure of Cyprus and failing to account for the 1,619 missing Greek Cypriots illegally detained and murdered by Turkey following its brutal invasion.


    The Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) has decided to intensify discussions and efforts for closer cooperation with international parliamentary organisations and to approach the Islamic Conference. The decision was taken during a joint meeting of the International Secretariat and the Committee of Chairpersons of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, held in Nicosia.

    IAO Secretary-General Aristotelis Pavlides described the meeting successful, adding that the delegation was informed on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue. President Demetris Christofias fully briefed us on the latest developments. The Cyprus issue is for the IAO an issue which we would like to contribute to through the good offices mission of our 27 member states in understanding the issues that affect the region, he said.

    We support every effort which will lead to the peaceful cohabitation in Cyprus. We will convey this message to our colleagues at all the parliaments we come from, irrespective or religious or political inclinations, he added.


    President of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Averof Neofytou, held a meeting Tuesday in Athens with President and members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Greek Parliament.

    During the meeting, they discussed the recent developments regarding the Cyprus talks which are underway since September between the leaders of the two communities of Cyprus, Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, with an aim to reunify Cyprus, divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    In statements after the meeting, President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Greek Parliament Ioannis Varvitsiotis said that the Cyprus problem remains the most important issue for Greeces foreign policy. He added that during the meeting they ascertained that the difficult path of the negotiations that are being held between the Republic of Cyprus and the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community is not paved with roses.

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