August - September 2016

24 September 2016

Personalised healthcare: making the most of genomics

Genomics is a fundamental component of personalised medicine, and getting related policy right is essential to the successful delivery of better health. Whether your professional activity lies in business or bioinformatics, patient care or patent law – if you are interested in personalised healthcare and policy join us on 29 November for a day of scientific update and policy discussion.

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Digital health and data

This month, PHG Foundation responds to the Government consultation on the National Data Guardian for Health and Care’s Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs. In our response we welcome the publication of the review but argue that the solution is not to seek to build public trust by extending the scope of opt-outs to encompass all purposes beyond direct care. Meanwhile, Sobia Raza is positive about Bob Watcher’s review of digital usage in the NHS.

Healthcare futures

Sobia Raza explores the potential of portable diagnostic bioassays to improve the personalisation and quality of treatment, while, Rebecca Burbidge gives an overview of implantable biosensors, and asks whether the future is continuous monitoring?

Genomic medicine

In our blog, Leila Luheshi looks at two important papers on large genomic datasets and the lessons they offer for both global and national health policy makers, and Philippa Brice gives a round-up of the current super-sized genome projects. In our guest blog, Prof John A Sayer highlights some of the ways genomic medicine is transforming the medical specialty of nephrology.

Science and health policy

A new PHG Foundation report urges a considered approach to using technologies such as whole genome sequencing to test for high risk cancer gene mutations in people with no family history of the disease. In the blog, Leila Luheshi asks who is thinking about long term radical health service change, while Stefano Gortana considers the outlook for UK science after Brexit and Philippa Brice explores the new direction for health and life sciences following the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister. In the news, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) set out proposals to end its imposed ban on the introduction of stem cells into animal embryos in medical research.

Childhood obesity

Following the launch of the government’s strategy for Childhood Obesity, PHG Foundation’s Director Hilary Burton says that the real emphasis must be on enabling individuals to make sure they can become active participants in managing their own health. Louise Cameron looks at how personalised nutritional and lifestyle advice, guided by genomics and other biomarkers could be used to help obesity in childhood.

Personalised medicine

PHG Foundation chairman Dr Ron Zimmern considers the place of precision medicine in population health interventions in a conversation with Dr Muin Khoury and Dr Sandro Galea, and Philippa Brice highlights the essential human factor that personalised medicine must address after visiting the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo. In the news, genetic difference between patients could account for why the effectiveness of the type 2 diabetes drug metformin can differ between patients, and NHS England sets out its vision for personalised medicine.
A commentary on Khoury & Galea Will Precision Medicine Improve Population Health

Infectious disease genomics

In a special guest blog, Prof Mark Pallen introduces a new cloud-based resource to support national and international data sharing among microbiologists, and in a follow up blog Sobia Raza highlights its benefits for microbiology services. Meanwhile, ahead of the addition of an important new section on the Zika virus in the Health Needs Assessment Toolkit for Congenital Disorders, PHG Foundation fellow, Prof Lavinia Schuler Faccini brings us up to date on what is known about the disease and its spread.

Innovations in healthcare

A gene editing toolbox has been developed which can edit multiple genes at once whilst minimising unwanted effects. In the emerging bioelectronics field, GSK and google parent company Alphabet have partnered to develop miniaturised, precision electrical therapies for the treatment of chronic conditions, and scientists have developed miniscule wireless sensors that can be implanted into the body to monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time. Plus more…

Biomedical research

A free online tool to help people make sense of research articles was launched, and this month a record funding totalling £816 million was announced for the next five years of health research.

Pharmacogenomics: a tool for precision medicine

If you are interested in finding out about how precision medicine is set to revolutionise medical practice, do not miss Royal Society of Medicine’s event on 7 November. For more information and booking, click here.