[Press release] Luxembourg hosts international flagship cancer epidemiology conference
From May 12th until May 14th, about 150 international scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and policymakers from 17 nations will gather for the 45th edition of the Group of Cancer Epidemiology and Registration in Latin Language Countries (GRELL) conference which, due to the current pandemic, will take place in a fully virtual format. Organised in Luxembourg for the first time by the National Cancer Registry of Luxembourg (Registre National du Cancer - RNC) at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), the meeting will feature several prominent speakers, providing an opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the field of cancer epidemiology with a particular focus on COVID-19 and cancer, as well as childhood and adolescent cancers. This 2021 edition of the GRELL conference is dedicated to the memory of the late Dr Michel Untereiner, oncologist and Scientific Director of the RNC between January 2013 and March 2021.
Visceral adiposity and cardiometabolic health in Luxembourg
Looking at a sample of individuals representative of the Luxembourgish population, researchers from the LIH Department of Population Health (DoPH) showed that increased visceral adipose tissue (VAT), located inside the abdominal cavity between the organs, is strongly associated with an increased risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders. To study this relationship, the scientists used recently developed and validated anthropometric predictive models of VAT, which distinguished VAT from other forms of adipose tissue. Their findings were published in the April issue of the Nature Publishing Group journal “Scientific Reports”.
A year of Predi-COVID
On May 5th 2020, the first participants were being enrolled in the newly launched Predi-COVID cohort. Fast-forward to May 2021, these initial volunteers have been invited to take part in the final follow-up foreseen under the study, which will specifically seek to shed light on the features of “Long COVID” through a new dedicated questionnaire.
Luxembourg and Canada researchers join forces
Following a first call for proposals in December 2020, a bilateral project involving the Human Biomonitoring Research Unit (HBRU) of the LIH Department of Population Health (DoPH) and the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) was selected for funding on March 29th under the Québec-Luxembourg programme AUDACE, a joint initiative of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and of the Quebec Research Fund (FRQ). The scheme aims to support innovative and high-impact interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations between Quebec and Luxembourg scientists.
[Press release] Exposure to pollutants in the Luxembourg population
In a recent study, scientists from the Human Biomonitoring (HBRU) research unit of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) exploited hair analysis to assess the exposure to 67 different organic pesticides in 497 adults representative of the population of the Grand Duchy. The researchers detected an average of 19 pollutants per individual, with some chemicals being present across the entire study cohort. The findings, which were published in April in the renowned international journal ‘Environment International’, unequivocally highlight the simultaneous exposure of the population to numerous different pollutants and set the basis for a more holistic understanding of their combined effect on human health.
Think Pink Lux ‘Marian Aldred Award’ awarded to LIH researchers
On April 26th 2020, Hannah Wurzer, doctoral candidate within the Cytoskeleton and Cancer Progression (CCP) group of the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC), and Dr Clément Thomas, Leader of the research group, were awarded the ‘Marian Aldred Award’ by Think Pink Lux (TPL). The symbolic EUR 20,000 cheque was handed over to the two awardees during a ceremony that took place at the LIH premises in Strassen, in the presence of Mrs Carrie Cannon and Mr Laurent Vanot from the Think Pink Lux committee.
LIH leukaemia research further supported by Plooschter Projet donation
The Luxembourgish non-profit association Plooschter Projet renewed its financial commitment to the TSI group of the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC) in support of its research on the detailed characterisation of the identity and features of cells from the tumour microenvironment in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Vocal Biomarkers: What our voice tells us about our health
A voice reveals a lot about a person’s health: Does it sound strong? Does it sound weak? Is it hoarse? Are there indications of pain or fatigue? Modern digital technologies have recently made it possible to detect the smallest changes in the voice. But now, more research is needed to make the results of this voice monitoring usable for medical and diagnostic purposes. To this end, a team at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) led by Dr. Guy Fagherazzi, director of the Department of Population Health and head of the Deep Digital Phenotyping Research Unit, has written a review on the topic of “vocal biomarkers”. In this paper, the research team describes the state of the art of voice analysis for health purposes and the evaluation of speech recordings with the help of artificial intelligence. The scientists have also described a pipeline in which the corresponding techniques can be coordinated and used for all the way up to medical applications. They have thus created an important basis for systematically advancing voice analysis in the field of digital health and making it ready for use in clinical practice. The publication “Voice For Health: The Use Of Vocal Biomarkers From Research To Clinical Practice” was published on April 16th in the journal “Digital Biomarkers“
New insights into the genetic risk factors of Lewy body dementia
Prof Rejko Krüger, Director of Transversal Translational Medicine at LIH, contributed to an international study aiming to shed light into the genetic determinants of Lewy body dementia (LBD), a common yet understudied neurodegenerative disease. Leveraging advanced genome sequencing techniques in a large study population, the scientists identified five risk genes involved in the onset and progression of this form of dementia, and brought forward the critical role of mutations in a subset of these genes in LBD development. The study also showed that LBD displays common features with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, thereby providing a deeper understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition and paving the way for the development of targeted therapies. The findings were published in February 2021 in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.