A vision of the future for personalised healthcare

Earlier this month, a major report was released recommending fundamental changes to the UK National Health Service (NHS).

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...

NHS innovation: personalised medicine and the human factor

The NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo 2016 took place in Manchester in the first week of September. Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director for NHS England said in his welcome to delegates: “All countries are grappling with the escalating cost of healthcare coupled with changing public perceptions and expectations. Part of the solution to improving quality of care and me...

Rise of the super-sized genome projects

The UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project (100KGP), when announced in 2012, put existing efforts in the shade. Hitherto, efforts had begun with projects involving 1000 genomes, or at a push 10,000 genomes – ambitious targets at the time of proposal, especially given that the first human genome sequence took thirteen years and a massive international effort to complete, but soo...

Personalised medicine in the US: does higher spending mean better care?

Statistics show the US spends more than any other country on health. In fact, the health share of US GDP is projected to rise from 17.4% in 2013 to 19.6% in 2024. One reason for such exceptional resources may be President Obama’s enthusiastic support for personalised (or precision medicine), or as he puts it: “a new era of medicine – one that delivers the right treatment at the right time”...

The global genomics race: Asia, the UK and beyond

An international consortium of Asian partners is to sequence 100,000 Asian genomes in a bid to redress the bias towards non-Asian populations in current datasets and underpin personalised medicine.

Complex diseases need complex solutions – including genomics

A recent update published in BMJ of an earlier review of studies examining the communication of genetic risks of disease and impact on risk-reducing behaviour concluded that telling people about increased genetic predisposition towards disease did not encourage them to change their lifestyles to mitigate that risk. A piece published in the Independent newspaper reporting on the paper said ...

Accelerating access to healthcare innovations

The second phase of the Accelerating Access Review (AAR), input on the interim report, has just closed. The PHG Foundation made an extensive submission to the Review, an initiative intended to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients. These aims are entirely in line with our own Health Innovation Manifesto. 

A new path to smarter drug prescribing and funding?

Increasing life expectancies are leading to increased risk of the diseases of old age. Of these, cancer is the one of the most common. It is estimated that half the population born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. 

Precision medicine vs. public health: a false dichotomy?

The recent focus on precision medicine has attracted criticism from the public health community that firmly believes that health is determined by far more than healthcare, and that more sophisticated medical technologies may not adequately address important determinants of population health. There is no argument that a focus on the wider environmental, structural and social determ...

Commercial genome sequencing as ‘health screening’ launched

Human Longevity, the company founded by Human Genome  sequencing pioneer Craig Venter, has announced plans to launch a new commercial genome sequencing service in the UK and South Africa.