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Prime Minister Miro Cerar offers major recognition to Slovenian scientists


Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar together with the Minister of Health, Milojka Kolar Celarc, today received Slovenian scientists and researchers from the Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics. On behalf of the Slovenian Government, the Prime Minister conveyed to the scientists and researchers major recognition for their recent discovery of a premature ageing gene.

In his statement for the press, PM Cerar pointed out that their recent ground-breaking discovery of the gene reinforced his conviction that Slovenian science in medicine ranks in the top of the global scientific and research sector. The Government is aware of the exceptional importance of science to the development of society, and has therefore identified this field as one of its priorities. Prime Minister Cerar also noted that every investment in science is also an investment in progress and an investment in the knowledge society.

With this in mind, PM Cerar listened closely to the Slovenian scientists and researchers of the Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics, who pointed out that they urgently need higher-capacity medical equipment for their work. In 2013 the Institute introduced the method of exome sequencing, which is a form of investigation that significantly reduces the cost and speeds up the diagnosis of rare diseases, since by developing and focusing resources on a single method they can perform clinical diagnosis for a range of rare genetic diseases, rather than developing diagnostic methods for each rare disease separately. The Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics currently uses an Illumina MiSeq instrument for the purpose of sequencing the human genome. The instrument can analyse the sequencing of a clinical exome for around 6-9 patients a week, but demand for it is much higher, so they are coping with this challenge by renting similar-capacity instruments abroad.

For this reason, in order for the Institute to conduct more examinations that would at the same time be even more accurate, the Prime Minister has decided that the Slovenian Government will help the Institute with the purchase of a new, significantly more powerful Illumina NextSeq sequencer valued at EUR 493,197.20 including VAT. The Ministry of Health will cofinance the investment to the tune of EUR 445,300, with the remaining 10% coming from the Ljubljana University Medical Centre.

PM Cerar underlined that through this new investment the Government will significantly improve accessibility and the conditions for providing diagnosis and genetic counselling for patients and families with genetically determined diseases. This new investment will serve to increase the number of investigations performed and will reduce waiting times. At the same time it will reduce the costs of the service while improving the quality of the service by obtaining more accurate results, and it will also be possible to perform new investigations which the existing instrument cannot provide.