By John S. Axford, DSc, MD, FRCP
Culled from an address at the 7th Jenner Glycobiology and Medicine Symposium, London 5-9 September 2004
The potential for glycobiology to improve the practice of medicine has been well-recognized, which is why the Jenner Glycobiology and Medicine biennial symposiums, concerning this association, have been taking place for the last 14 years. The science of glycobiology has matured rapidly, and with it the far-reaching clinical implications are becoming understood. The next decade is going to see this ﬁnal frontier of science conquered. The impact this understanding of glycobiology will have upon our practice of medicine is going to be exciting. The 7th Jenner Glycobiology and Medicine Symposium, was designed to reﬂect these advances. All the major clinical areas were involved, with contributions from pivotal players in science and medicine.
From embryogenesis to pathogenesis, glycosylation plays a pivotal role. Complex and hybrid N-glycans and O-fucose glycans are critical in oocyte development and function.7 This area must surely be a fertile ground for glycosylation research.
The pathogenesis of viral infections involves sugars at every turn.Hepatitis C virus and bovine viral diarrhea (BVDV) are opening themselves to scrutiny. The BVDV has proven very useful in the evaluation of antiviral activit of molecules that inhibit morphogenesis and/or viral entry. Infection by human immunodeﬁciency virus type-1 (HIV-1) is characterized by low levels of neutralizing antibodies. One broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibody is 2G12.10
Two articles reviewing the importance of glycobiology in medicine: