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26 Jun 2012

Years of fighting for AFM-Téléthon

Illustration for article: Years of fighting for AFM-Téléthon
Since the 1st Telethon, AFM-Téléthon has fought with the conviction that only concentrated means can produce significant results. This is why it decided to implement a successful strategy which benefits all genetic and rare diseases and even more common diseases. Through the support of its donors and with the boldness of those with nothing to lose, AFM has made the impossible possible.

The first human genome maps

Through the publication of human genome maps by the Généthon laboratory, financed by Telethon donations, AFM-Téléthon has helped accelerate the discovery of genes responsible for diseases (a handful of genes known in  1986, today: over 3,000 genes localized or identified) which catapulted France to first place in genetic research.

Improved diagnosis and more appropriate treatment for patients

Today, increasing numbers of patients can benefit from an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical care, continue to study, work and live as a couple, for example. In other words, have a life project. "They have become an integral part of society thanks to the constant work done by AFM-Téléthon to combat exclusion", emphasised Michel Callon, a researcher at the Innovation Sociology Centre at the Paris Ecole des Mines engineering school. Access to better diagnosis and more appropriate treatment for patients are reflected in the significant improvement in their quality of life and life expectancy.

A public health priority in France and Europe

With AFM-Téléthon’s support, rare diseases have been brought into the spotlight and are now a public health priority in France and Europe: two national plans have been devised as well as European regulations enabling more than 50 orphan drugs to be marketed.  AFM-Téléthon also set up the Rare Diseases Platform which includes all the main players concerned with rare diseases and provides a unique resource centre, known throughout Europe as the French Model.

Passing new laws

With its advocacy activity, AFM-Téléthon has helped pass new laws in France for people with disabilities (right to compensation, right to schooling, right to training and employment).

Co-foundation of the Evry Génopole

AFM-Téléthon contributed to funding the Evry Génopole, the 1st French biopark, now grouping 82 biotechnology businesses, 19 academic research laboratories, 25 pooled platforms and unprecedented economic development (2,300 jobs).

Three research centres created, at the cutting edge in their field

Three research centres created by AFM-Téléthon, all at the cutting edge in their field:  Généthon laboratory which is now a pharmaceutical structure producing its first batches of gene therapy drugs for rare diseases; the Institute of Myology, a unique structure in Europe dedicated to the study of muscles and I-Stem, a laboratory which was a forerunner in the stem cell field.

The emergence of new treatments

AFM-Téléthon has contributed to the emergence of new treatments which have demonstrated their efficacy with the first patients. They provide new medical tools, new approaches to fight all diseases. In less than 20 years, gene therapy has moved from the exploratory stage to therapeutic reality for the first diseases, such as immunodeficiencies or adrenoleukodystrophy. Stem cells are also promising prospects for the medicine of the future.

30 different diseases will soon be treatable

Nearly 30 different diseases will soon be treatable, with AFM-Téléthon support: neuromuscular or neurological diseases, diseases of the blood, vision, skin, immune system. 30 diseases which pave the way to the medicine of the future.

Rare diseases are laboratory for medical innovation for the benefit of as many people as possible.