Over the past 16 years, DMM has become one of the most prestigious international meetings dedicated to promoting translational science and molecular medicine. The meeting was initiated with the vision that medical research is the key to further understanding human biology and disease, which has increasingly become enabled by major leaps in core technology spanning the field of genetics, imaging, stem cell biology, and biotechnology. The meeting is designed to break new ground in a specific arena that is viewed as being timely as well as critical to translational science at the highest level, and is not intended to highlight a single disease area or technology.
The DMM 2016 meeting, entitled “Bugs to Bedside to Biotech”, will highlight the interface of new technologies to fight the next generation of infective agents and pandemics, as well as “superbugs” being created by over-treatment with antibiotics.
Research support and reimbursement for developing new therapeutic approaches to combat this growing problem has waned, creating clear financial disincentives for translational work in the area. Meanwhile, the sequencing of entire genomes of diverse infectious agents, the discovery of new anti-infectives from natural sources, and improved understanding of the intersection of the epidemiology of transmission and genetic susceptibility have combined to create unprecedented opportunities for the development of novel science-based clinical advances. In addition, new therapeutic platforms for vaccines, based on mRNA platforms, are moving forward for a host of target infectious diseases. The meeting is also designed to probe new approaches to allow access to these new technological advances for the communities most affected, which are often least able to cover the inherent costs of developing a new class of drugs.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine celebrated discoveries of anti-infectives made many years ago, which have changed the lives of millions of children and adults worldwide. Our hope is that DMM 2016 will inspire continued work in this arena, harnessing novel technology and innovative partnerships among academia, pharma, non-profit organizations, and both developed and developing nations.