In these uncertain times

Uncertainty surrounds us, and while this has always been the case, it feels to me that recent political upheavals have led to a greater sense of uncertainty about our futures, and even uncertainty about what we know, or do not know, to be true.

Global collaboration is the key to combating seasonal flu

Sarah James is currently working with the PHG Foundation as a policy analyst, alongside her role as an influenza researcher at the Centre for Pathogen Evolution, University of Cambridge.

Genome editing in medicine - where are we?

As we discussed in a recent blog, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's ambitious and wide-reaching inquiry into genomics and genome editing is examining the role that genomic technologies can play in health, agriculture and the environment. The PHG Foundation's written response to the inquiry was one of many sent, and the variety of organisations and individuals responding resul...

The dos and don’ts of non-invasive prenatal testing

A new report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics supports the use of a non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) technique recently approved for use as part of the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme in pregnancy, as well as setting out some concerns surrounding current commercial provision and potential future uses of testing.

Harnessing the health benefits of genomics

The House of Commons Science & Technology Committee (STC), a heavy-weight select committee that does not shy away from the highly complex issues surrounding topics as diverse as robotics and regulation, forensic science and funding, has set itself a new challenge. The current Inquiry on Genomics and Genome Editing has a vast scope – to the extent that in February it was announced t...

Your DNA your say

Genetic research has the potential to unlock many answers in medical diagnoses and treatment. Whole genome and exome sequencing are available now in the NHS in England and other health care systems around the world. This fast paced new age has given rise to interesting ethical and moral questions that my group explores.

Improving access to genetic testing in epithelial ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the fifth commonest cause of cancer-related mortality in women, with over 7000 women diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year. A proportion of cases (around 15-20%) are caused by inherited mutations, with mutations in th e BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes being the most common. Knowledge of a woman’s mutation status can inform treatment options as certain classes of drug...

Will 2017 be the year when genomic medicine becomes business as usual?

There was no shortage of excitement (some might call it hype) about genomics and personalised healthcare in 2016, but for the vast majority of patients, the benefits of genomics remained tantalizingly out of reach. I have been wondering whether there are reasons to be more optimistic for 2017? Could this be the year that ‘patient benefits from genomic medicine’ is no longer newsworthy, and b...

Circulating tumour DNA technology: the future of cancer management?

Cancer is an increasing burden on the health system and projected incidence figures – that 1 in 2 of us born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer – make for gloomy reading. However, a combination of technological leaps and marginal gains have led to greatly improved survival figures for many cancers; with now 80% of patients surviving more than 10 years post diagnosis for ...

Science and health in the Brexit-bound UK

The immediate impact of the UK referendum vote in favour of leaving the European Union boded ill for science and health as the value of the pound plunged and attempts to secure new scientific EU collaborations struggled. Thus far, the UK economy continues to defy expectations, though forecasters generally agree that it is only a matter of time before the more complex and substantial effects of act...

Clinical proteome analysis – the key to personalised medicine?

While the genome contains a list of instructions for the cell written in DNA, the proteome comprises all the proteins within a cell or organism that are coded for by genes within the genome. The proteome is in effect a record of all the proteins that a cell needs to function in a certain state and therefore contains a lot of useful information. By studying and comparing the proteome i...

Machines that learn healthcare?

Machine learning for beginners: view the full infographic here.