August 2010

1 August 2010

Policy and regulation

The regulation of genetic tests has been a key issue in the last month, with apparently divergent approaches in the US and UK. Shortly after the US Food and Drug Administration made new moves to restrict direct-to-consumer genetic test offerings (26 July), the UK Human Genetics Commission released a framework for voluntary regulation of the same sort of tests (4 August). Also in the UK, the announcement that a number of key heath bodies and regulators are to be scrapped caused some consternation (27 July). New guidelines for biobanks and genetic databases in Western Australia have been released (15 July), and a new resource for information and perspective on personal genomics has been launched (14 July).

Genetics, medicine and public health

New reviews have examined the evidence for the optimal timing of screening for Fragile X Syndrome (29 July), the impact of risk prediction for pancreatic cancer (21 July), and the value of genetic factors in breast cancer risk prediction (5 August). Long-term outcomes following one of the earliest gene therapies have been found to be generally good for X-linked SCID, albeit with risks (26 July), whilst pre-clinical trials show promise for a novel gene therapy approach to treat beta-thalassaemia (22 July). New research will use stem cells from patients to investigate Parkinson’s disease (14 July), and we report on developments in regenerative medicine, including for spinal cord injuries (9 August).

Genetic epidemiology and disease risk

As the flow of data from genome-wide association studies continues to increase, we single out three new reports for analysis: new genetic variants associated with blood lipids including cholesterol levels (9 August), with vitamin D status (19 July), and with sudden cardiac death (30 July).

New reviews and commentaries

Our selection of recent articles of interest (2 August)

Other recent news and research

See also the Genomics & Health Weekly Update from the CDC Office of Public Health Genomics and the GenInfo Monthly Newsletter from HumGen.