BV-FAPESP: research projects supported in this Center
HUG-CELL in the Media: news about the Center
The Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center (HUG-CELL) of the Institute of Biosciences of the University of São Paulo is a two-way effort: patients contribute to research and new scientific advances contribute to patients’ diagnosis and prevention of genetic disorders.
The Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center (HUG-CELL) conducts research in human and medical genetics, providing genetic counseling services and genetic tests for the population, as well as developing activities related to genetics education and technology transfer. In addition, HUG-CELL develops research on emerging topics that are relevant for society, such as the genetic susceptibility responsible for microcephaly in babies exposed to the zika virus and the current search for germline genetic variants associated with the clinical variability of COVID-19.
The Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center (HUG-CELL) team at USP is composed of genetics professors and researchers, physicians, health professionals, specialized technicians as well as graduate and post-graduate students, totaling around 120 participants.
The Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center (HUG-CELL) is the largest center for attending people with genetic diseases in Latin America. It represents the continuity of Prof. Oswaldo Frota-Pessoa initiative, a pioneer of genetic medicine in Brazil, who started to ascertain and offer genetic counseling to families with genetic diseases in the 1960s. Since then, with the inauguration of the HUG-CELL building in 2000, around 100 thousand people from families affected by different genetic pathologies have been attended by a multidisciplinary team.
The importance of organizing and assuring access to the government’s healthcare data via the SUS was highlighted in a presentation by Ester Sabino, a professor at the University of São Paulo, to a webinar hosted by the São Paulo State Academy of Sciences. Data integration and access would benefit researchers and the Health Ministry, and help to direct investment in the sector.
A team at a FAPESP-supported research center investigated over-90s who were resilient to SARS-CoV-2 and identical twins who had severe COVID-19 with different outcomes, including long COVID. The findings are expected to contribute to the development of vaccines and treatments for this and other viral diseases.
Universities, research institutions and agencies of the São Paulo State Government will join forces in 15 new centers announced during a ceremony held to celebrate FAPESP’s 60th anniversary. The centers will address problems in areas ranging from human and animal health to the energy transition and climate change.
Experiments conducted at a FAPESP-supported research center showed that besides directly combating tumor cells, zika alerted the immune system to the presence of cancer. The study opens up prospects for the use of virotherapy for central nervous system tumors.
Brazilian researchers studied the case of identical twins in which only one sibling was reinfected and developed complications after a second exposure to the virus. Their analysis showed that the adaptive immune response can be different even between individuals with the same genome.
A study by scientists at a FAPESP-supported research center analyzed genetic material from 86 couples in which only one spouse was infected. The results suggest that more frequent variants in the resistant spouses could lead to more efficient activation of natural killer (NK) cells, which are part of the innate immune system, the first barrier against infection.
Analysis of DNA from 1,171 over-sixties living in São Paulo will enable scientists to identify genetic mutations responsible for diseases or important to healthy aging, according to the authors of the study.