April 2015

23 April 2015

Health innovation manifesto

Director Dr Hilary Burton discusses the PHG Foundation’s new innovation manifesto for the new government following next month’s General Election in the UK. The manifesto sets out goals intended to ensure that innovative technologies are properly harnessed to create a better and more sustainable healthcare system.
A new manifesto for health innovation and patient benefit

Health strategy and policy

Selected synergies between NHS England’s latest strategic business plan and the PHG Foundation manifesto are discussed, as are active plans to involve UK citizens more in National Health Service (NHS) planning and development. There have been fresh recommendations for speedier uptake of novel regenerative medicine techniques in health services, and a new biotech / pharma partnering programme from Genomics England.

NHS England strategy: foundations for improvement
NHS Citizen explained
New strategy for uptake of regenerative medicine
New Genomics England industry & clinical interpretation partnerships

Digital health and personalised medicine

The market for digital health continues to evolve with a partnership between IBM and Apple to marry consumer wearables and health apps with cloud data storage and analysis. Personalised cancer vaccines attempt to combine personalised cancer treatments with immunotherapy, and new research looks to provide fully personalised treatment options for bowel cancer.    

Developments in digital health and personalised medicine
Cancer treatment gets more personalised than ever
New consortium to develop more personalised treatment for bowel cancer patients

Genome editing

We reflect on the implications of news that the first attempts at gene editing of human embryos has been published.

Controversial world first genetic modification of human embryos

Therapeutics and diagnostics

Immunotherapy is in the news again as a broad-spectrum neutralising antibody treatment for HIV infections shows promise, whilst encouraging clinical trial results show effective treatment of a rare genetic disease, restoring immune function and blood clotting capacity. The UK Genetic Testing Network has released latest recommendations for NHS-funded genetic tests.

New HIV immunotherapy approach hailed
Gene therapy benefits rare genetic disease patients
Recommendations for rare disease genetic testing

Non-invasive prenatal testing

A major trial of NIPT to identify those pregnant women at high risk for Down’s syndrome and other common chromosomal abnormalities from general antenatal populations has found that it performs better than current screening approaches. PHG Foundation Programme Director Dr Mark Kroese reflects on the implications for UK policy.

Non-invasive prenatal testing for Down's better than standard screening
NIPT for Down’s syndrome – what new evidence means for the UK

Antibiotic resistance

The White House has launched a five-year action plan for tackling the spectre of antibiotic resistance, including new diagnostics, improved surveillance systems and prescribing practice, as well as new treatment approaches. Research has shown that another option relying on carefully planned combinations of existing antibiotics may also have merit in treating drug-resistant bacterial strains.

US National Action Plan for fighting antibiotic resistance
Smarter antibiotic use beats resistant bacteria

Genomics and disease

The intriguing question of whether severe flu infections may constitute a form of genetic disease is posed, as are links between short stature and increased heart disease risks. Researchers have also used data from under 3,000 Icelanders to infer to genomic profile of the whole population, suggesting that they could now predict accurately those at high risk of BRCA-linked cancers and questioning whether these people should be informed.

Severe flu: viral or genetic disease?
Increased risk of heart disease in short people linked to DNA
Sequencing the nation: Iceland’s genomic profile

Life Sciences & Society: selling science

For our next free seminar in Cambridge on 9 June, Dr Andy Williams of Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies will talk on Selling science? News, public relations and communicating scientific research.

Book now