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Southeast Asian thalassemia experts showcase latest research developments at ICG-18 | BGI update

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BGI Genomics

Prof. Vip Viprakasit delivered a speech titled "Past-Present-Future of Comprehensive Thalassemia Research and Practice in Thailand"

image: Prof. Vip Viprakasit delivered a speech regarding Thalassemia Research and Practice in Thailand. view more 

Credit: BGI Genomics

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects about 300 million people worldwide. Treatments for moderate to severe thalassemia include frequent blood transfusions, chelation therapy to remove excess iron from the blood, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

In line with this year's "Be Aware. Share. Care" International Thalassemia Day theme, Hainan Thalassemia Care Association hosted the 2023 International Forum on Prevention and Treatment of Thalassemia and the 18th International Conference on Genomics (ICG) in Hemoglobinopathy in Sanya, Hainan from May 26-27, 2023. The event was co-organized by Sanya Maternal and Child Health Hospital and BGI Genomics.

Over 100 experts and scholars from China, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, and other countries gathered to deliver keynote speeches and discuss the latest developments regarding thalassemia research.

During the presentation session, two experts from Southeast Asia were invited to attend the offline conference. Prof. Vip Viprakasit, professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics & Thalassemia Center at Siriraj Hospital at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, shared the topic of "Past-Present-Future of Comprehensive Thalassemia Research and Practice in Thailand" and participated in the Donation Ceremony of Assistance for Severe Thalassemia Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Sanya City. Dr. Alongkone Phengsavanh from the University of Health Sciences shared the topic of "Current Status of Thalassemia in Lao People's Democratic Republic. "

"BGI Genomics is a world leader in genomics research and has put durable, long-standing effort into preventing and treating thalassemia," commented Shiping Chen, BGI Genomics Senior Product Manager. "We are working towards a vision that in a not-too-distant future, there will be a world without this disease. "

Contributing to thalassemia control in Southeast Asia

Partnering with Prof. Viprakasit from Mahidol University, BGI Genomics has been actively contributing to thalassemia control in Thailand. Accompanied by the Southeast Asia team, Wang Jian, the Co-founder and Chairman of BGI Group, the parent company of BGI Genomics, met with Prof. Vip Viprakasit at Siriraj Medical College, Mahidol University last December to discuss cooperation in thalassemia-related projects.

Prof. Viprakasit introduced his current business and research projects of ATGenes and expressed a strong willingness to cooperate in the research and treatment of thalidomide-related diseases. The two sides agreed to jointly promote the implementation of poverty screening and gene therapy in Thailand.

Following up on the progress from the last meeting, Dr. Zhiyu Peng, the Chief Product Officer of BGI Genomics, visited Thailand and met with Prof. Viprakasit with the Southeast Asia team in March this year at Siriraj Thalassemia Center World-Class Excellent Center on Thalassemia Management. Dr. Peng introduced the progress of the thalassemia screening project and the application of NIPT thalassemia diagnosis. Prof. Viprakasit also addressed the situation in Thailand and presented the whole solution for the screening project.

At the institutional level, BGI Genomics signed an MOU with the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University to jointly launch a thalassemia prevention study by comparing test scope, efficiency, findings, and health economic benefits of NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) plus Gap-PCR technology and traditional technology. The two parties aim to establish cooperation in the development of Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) in Thailand, ensuring the CGT cost will be reasonable and accessible to Thai patients from all health benefit schemes. The initial phase will include screening 5,000 pregnant couples.

About BGI Genomics

BGI Genomics, headquartered in Shenzhen, China, is the world's leading integrated solutions provider of precision medicine. The company has pioneered thalassemia genetic testing services based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology since 2013. In July 2017, as a subsidiary of BGI Group, BGI Genomics (300676.SZ) was officially listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

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