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International Jérôme Lejeune Days 24th-25th March 2011

Published on 03/02/2011 in Scientific research

Treating genetic intellectual disabilities:

Future is near!

Ten years ago, it still seemed impossible to manage to treat people with genetic intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Fragile-X Syndrome, Cri Du Chat Syndrome, etc.

During these last years, and particularly these last months, therapeutic research on genetic intellectual diseases made considerable steps forward.  Finding treatments, in the years to come does not seem so incredible anymore.

It is in order to present the various scientific work, which is so full of hope, that the 2nd International Jérôme Lejeune Days (IJJD) will be held at the Pasteur Institute in Paris from the 24th to the 26th of March 2011.

This second congress in 2011 will be an incredible meeting bringing together the greatest international researchers (amongst which Randi Hagerman, Stylianos, Antonarakis, Nathalie Cartier, Mara Dierssen, William Mobley, Roger Reeves and even Vincent des Portes and Sébastien Jacquemont),  responsible for the latest discoveries in treatments for genetic intellectual diseases.

These days will enable to evaluate the state of fundamental, experimental and clinical research which is at hand, worldwide. Several ongoing research directions will be presented, amongst which: clinical trials involving molecules which inhibit the excessive activity of various genes, anomalies of the central nervous system and associated therapeutic possibilities, research on neurotransmitters and their characteristics confronted in Down Syndrome and Alzheimer disease.

Over these past couple of years, complex pathologies referred to as incurable, such as leukaemia and AIDS, have benefitted from innovating treatments thanks to active research. For genetic intellectual diseases, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation (it carries the name of the person who found the cause of mongolism: the presence of a third chromosome 21) has been actively supporting specialists in their research in fundamental and clinical research for nearly 15 years.

The 2011 International Jérôme Lejeune Days are intended for experts worldwide, involved in genetic intellectual diseases. Programme and all practical information on this website:

Saturday 26th of March is open to the public in the afternoon. This session will be devoted to families and caregivers and to genetic intellectual disability healthcare in society. Programme on the website of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation and all practical information at : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The IJJD will take place from the 24th to the 26th of March 2011 at the Pasteur Institute

l’Institut Pasteur,

28 rue du Dr Roux

75015 Paris – France.

At the forefront, Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is the first cause for genetic Intellectual disability. In France this pathology touches an average of 1 conceived baby out of 700. 50 000 people live with Down Syndrome in France, 400 000 in Europe and several million in the world. Progressively, their life expectancy, which did not use to exceed 9 years in 1930, has increased and is now nearly the same as the general population’s.

Down Syndrome is a genetic disease resulting from the presence of an additional chromosome on the 21st pair. This anomaly imbalances genome functioning as would also happen in a computer if all applications were opened at the same time. The computer still works but in slow motion because it cannot handle everything at once. To fix it, you just need to close a few windows. It is one on the objectives of research in Down Syndrome: the idea is to delete the excess of information by inhibiting the overexpressed genes in order to find a therapy.

Fragile-X Syndrome, also very frequent, is due to a genetic anomaly (anomaly of a gene) which is benefiting from considerable therapeutic steps forward.

Other genetic diseases, including intellectual disabilities such as Williams-Beuren, Rett, Smith-Magenis, etc., benefit from it in turn: it now seems feasible to find a treatment.


In regards to the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation

The Foundation, declared to be of public utility, is developing new research programmes for the treatment of genetic intellectual diseases, in particular Down Syndrome. It is also financially supporting research teams working on similar cases.

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation is the main financer in France for research on genetic intellectual disabilities; each year, it invests 2 to 2.5 million euros for it. It created the centre for specialized medical consultations in France for these pathologies (5000 patients)

It also created a biological resource centre (the CRB Biojel) to make available specific genetic material to researchers worldwide.

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