June 2001

Belgian Society of Human Genetics

M Abramowicz, President
G Mortier, Secretary
F Kooy, Treasurer
W Courtens
K Dahan
K Devriendt
I Liebaers
L Van Maldergem

Dear colleagues, dear friends,

With the summertime approaching, here is some news of the BeSHG.

BeSHG's Working Group on Predictive Genetic Testing

The BeSHG is committed at fostering initiatives at regional or national level. Today, the board is grateful to Prof G. Evers-Kiebooms for initiating a working group on Predictive Genetic Testing. The aims are in line with the statutes of the BeSHG, including enhancing exchanges and collaborations among scientists, in Belgium and abroad ; conveying information to the lay public ; reflexion on individual and social implications of new techniques in genetics ; and developing standards of good medical practice. One of the aims is to provide guidelines on how predictive genetic testing should be performed in Belgium.

Applications to the working group are open to all involved in any aspect of predictive genetic testing. Please forward this information to anyone who might be interested and has not received this newsletter. Please note it is necessary to be a member of the BeSHG if you wish to take part in the working group. All those interested please contact Prof G. Evers-Kiebooms (Gerry.Kiebooms@med.kuleuven.ac.be) or Marc Abramowicz (marcabra@ulb.ac.be).

Genetics as a Medical Specialty

At the ICHG2001 in Vienna (May 2001), a general trend was noted towards the need to recognize Genetics as a medical specialty. The European Society (ESHG) is preparing a document that will be launched on the internet (www.eshg.org). Two issues pertain to our country : Belgium is a small country, and the practice of medical genetics is legally restricted to the eight Centres for Human Genetics. We should start thinking about these issues. Reflections and comments are welcome. The BeSHG plans to submit a recommendation document on this matter to the Superior Council of Human Genetics (Conseil Supérieur/Hoge Raad).

Next Meetings

The next annual meeting of the BeSHG will take place on 22/02/2002 at the VUB as announced previously. A preliminary program, and instructions for abstract submission, will appear in our next newsletter.
For hosting the 2003 meeting of the BeSHG, the KUL has already applied, but applications from other institutions will be considered until June 30, 2001.

Informations of Interest

The Belgian Society for Reproductive Medicine (BSRM) will hold its 6th Scientific Meeting on Saturday 13 October 2001 in Brussels. The BSRM asked us to communicate the following text :

The Belgian Society for Reproductive Medicine is a unique and dynamic group of people with the same professional interest.'Unique' because clinicians, scientists and paramedical professionals from different disciplines such as gynaecology, andrology, clinical embryology,urology, genetics, veterinary sciences, psychology and ethics can become a full member.'Dynamic' because last year we set up two working groups to work around reimbursement of drugs and laboratory procedures in order to work out proposals for the government. We have still other important themes to work around in petto. I would like to encourage you strongly to become a member of the Society and to be aware of the dynamism of BSRM. You are kindly invited to attend the Sixth Scientific Meeting of the Belgian Society for Reproductive Medicine, which will take place in Brussels on Saturday, October 13, 2001. We will work around two themes: the multiple facets of embryonic stem cells and metformin in the treatment of PCOS. Besides these invited lectures the programme also includes submitted communications either oral or poster. Please note that the deadline to submit an abstract is September 15, 2001. The abstract can deal with andrology, assisted conception, embryology, endocrinology, endometriosis, ethics, genetics, menopause, psychology and surgery. The best paper will be honoured by a scholarship covering travel and registration costs to the ESHRE Congress in Vienna, Austria.
I hope to welcome you as a member or brand new member during our next meeting!

Paul Devroey, president.

For more information : BSRM Central Office, Orga-Med, Essenestraat 77, B-1740 Ternat.

Tel.: +32 2 582 08 52, Fax: +32 2 582 55 15. Orga.med@worldonline.be

We wish you all a very nice summer !

Yours sincerely,

Geert Mortier
Marc Abramowicz