Mexico’s Wealthiest Man Pledges $65 Million for Medical Research

A 3-year genomics projects intent on studying the genetic nature of cancer, type II diabetes and kidney disease has been initiated by Carlos Slim – one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Recently, Slim pledged $65 million to be received by the Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine. The initiative is a joint partnership between the Carlos Slim Health Institute, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Mexican National Institute of Genomic Medicine.

According to Eric S. Lander, president and director of the Broad Institute, the program is not designed to develop treatments, but rather focused on gaining improved insight into the genomic bases of these three diseases.

To accomplish this goal, scientists will use 10,000 samples to analyze the DNA of diabetes, kidney disease and seven types of cancer. The cancers to be studied have yet to be announced, however breast cancer will likely be included.

In response to the announcement, Carlos Slim said, “Only with the development of this genomic science and surrounding technology will it be possible, as it was before with vaccines, to face these diseases and prevent these diseases through their early detection, their early diagnosis.”

Ultimately, Slim hopes the initiative will provide insights that lead to improved cancer treatments in the future.

Slim is a telecommunications tycoon that serves as the head of the Grupo Carson conglomerate. He began the Carlos Slim institute in 2007 with the infusion of $500 million. The organization was created with the goal of educating Latin American and Caribbean citizens about important health issues. The Institute also assists in funding health-related research.

Slim is one of several billionaires who have recently made headlines for their contributions to medical research. Other examples include Bill Gates, who pledged $34 million to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study malaria, tuberculosis and HIV, and Mort Zuckerman, who recently set aside $100 million to build a cancer research center in New York.