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TEDMED comes to Athens

02 April 2013 / 18:04:07  GRReporter
2547 reads

Victoria Mindova

In recent decades, life expectancy has increased by 30 years mainly due to the development and wide use of medicines. On the other hand, recent studies show that more than half of the medicines in the market are not effective. In diseases such as depression and diabetes, almost 60% of the medicines do not have the expected effect. One of every 15 medicines fully cures the specific problem and only in the United States, the number of cases of death due to incorrect prescriptions of medicines or to unexpected negative effects is 100,000 per year.

The data was presented by Dr Despina Sanoudou, who has founded the High School Outreach Programme of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens. She will be one of the main speakers at the world congress TEDMED, which will be held for the first time in Athens this April. Its main goal is to bring together successful people in the field of medicine and active social organizations and individuals in order to find new innovative ways to improve public health. Sanoudou herself has turned to the examination of a study of genes as the main source of information for the development of effective medicines. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Columbia and became an Instructor at the Harvard Medical School, when she was only 27 years old.

Sanoudou emphasizes that the future of medicine lies in the development of medicines on the basis of the genetic characteristics of the patients. So far, it has taken between 10 and 15 years to develop a medicine and it cost between 500 million and one billion dollars. Only one in 10 medicines has been able to reach the market. The second phase of studies has rejected the rest and the costs of their development cannot be recovered. Today, science and medicine are looking for ways to improve the process of research in order to achieve the best results.

TEDMED Athens will involve specialists, researchers and scientists from around the world, who will share their achievements and seek new development opportunities. "In Greece, research in the health field is an asset that has remained untapped. We have great potential and significant capital of innovative ideas that should be put into operation," said Emmanuel Alexandrakis who is associate director of communications at MSD. The company is one of the main sponsors of the forum TEDMED in Athens, specializing in investment in innovative medicines all over the world. Developing an innovative medicine goes beyond the usual cost and can reach 1.9 billion dollars. Annually, MSD invests 10 billion dollars in research in the pharmaceutical industry, 5 million dollars of which it allocates to Greece.

"There is no a better platform for connecting business with innovation and scientific achievements than TED," said Michalis Stagos, co-founder and coordinator of the forum in Athens. He explained that during the event, the scientific potential in the country could meet the real business that can support the development of new discoveries.

The event itself is the result of the original TEDMED, which has been held in Washington since 1998. So far, the forum has taken place only in five places in the world and one of them is Athens. In the Greek capital the event is held under the auspices of the Scholars Association of the Onassis Foundation and the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies. TEDMEDlive Athens is organized by volunteers who want to contribute to improving the economic climate of the country by supporting innovative ideas. "The benefits from such an event are enormous. It brings together people of science and entrepreneurship and creates a new environment that is beneficial for collaboration. The volunteers can contribute to the organization but they also can find a new opportunity for professional development in the future. The visitors can be inspired by the positivity and creativity of the invited speakers and initiate their own projects in turn," said the co-organizer of TEDMED in Athens, Thodoris Anagnostopoulos. The idea behind the forum is that anything that can provide a positive start for new ideas and projects must be presented in order to immediately enable the economic and social recovery of Greece.

TEDMED Athens will take place at the Onassis Cultural Centre on 21 April this year. The ticket price is 35 euro. In addition to the inspiring speeches by renowned scholars, businessmen and artists, the organization has prepared a number of charity and voluntary campaigns, in which the visitors can participate.

Tags: EconomyTEDMEDInnovationsGreeceDevelopmentCrisisMedicine
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