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Mexican Magnate Provides $65M for Broad Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Carlos Slim Institute of Health has pledged $65 million to a partnership with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the National Institute for Genomic Medicine in Mexico for genomics-focused disease studies, Broad said today.

The partnership will focus on genomic sequencing and related projects aimed at understanding cancer and diabetes, and it will be funded by the Carlos Slim Institute of Health, which was founded in 2007 by Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helú. The effort will be primarily administered by The Mexican Secretariat of Health's NIGM.

Called the Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine, the three-year project will create catalogs of genetic mutations linked to cancer, and it will assemble systematic descriptions of the genetic factors underlying type 2 diabetes.

The cancer studies will develop knowledge about genetic mutations that may be used to pursue new cancer therapies and pharmacogenomic tools to identify which patients may respond to specific drugs.

Diabetes is a common inherited disease in Latin America, and the project will aim to develop knowledge of the genetic risk factors in the region's population.

"I am convinced that only through genomics will we be able to face the costly burden of illnesses that strain the budgets of even the richest countries," Slim said in a statement.

"Carlos Slim is making a visionary commitment to public health in the Americas in two ways, Broad Institute Director and President Eric Lander said. "First, in recognizing that progress in public health must be built on a foundation of scientific understanding of the genetic basis of disease. Second, in recognizing that deepening the scientific ties between the US and Mexico can have great benefits for both countries."

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