December 2015 - January 2016

26 January 2016

Opinion of the month

PHG Foundation and Association of Clinical Genetic Science (ACGS), Data sharing to support UK clinical genetics and genomics services is published in December. The report recommends that data sharing for patient benefit needs strong leadership, national agreement and a designated repository.

Responsible, proportionate data sharing for better and safer genetic services

Personalised medicine

Questions are raised on reporting incidental findings in a paper in JAMA, which leads PHG Foundation’s Leila Luheshi to offer her thoughts on the future of precision medicine. Following the publication of a multicentre trial for whole genome sequencing for the diagnosis and susceptibility testing of TB, Leila considers whether it marks a step closer to a genomics-led solution for tackling TB. In the news, results from separate research in the field of ovarian cancer show progress towards identifying ovarian cancer risk.

Genomic research

In the news, plans are revealed for an Australian 100,000 Genomes Project, while in England two new Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) are announced for Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project.

Science and health policy

This month, PHG Foundation makes an extensive submission to the Accelerated Access Review. In our blog, PHG Foundation’s director welcomes the review as timely whilst urging the government to give health professionals and commissioners the resources, time and incentives to support the national implementation of innovations via collaborative, strategic policy development. Philippa Brice comments on the outcomes of the international human gene editing conference in Washington DC, and gives her thoughts on the UK government’s official response to the consultation on the NHS England Mandate. In the news, there is a call for a cross-party review of the future of the NHS and social care.

Data and digital

A new multi sensor processor aims to accelerate the development of wearable devices, and a new ‘genomic wellness’ health app is revealed which aims to deliver ‘precise and actionable wellness recommendations’.

Therapeutics and diagnostics

As Illumina reaches for the cancer testing GRAIL, PHG’s Laura Blackburn looks at the challenges they face. The world’s largest database of cancer drug discovery adds 3D structures, paving the way for more effective cancer treatments, and a safer and more accurate test, ‘NIPT’, is recommended for use in the NHS on pregnant high-risk women.
Illumina reaches for the cancer testing GRAIL

Biomedical research

Human microbiome research receives a boost with a pioneer in the field, Dr Jeffry Gordon receiving an Agilent Thought Leader Award. Antibiotic resistance is again a focal topic in the news, with leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies urging governments and industry to work together to combat antibiotic resistance. Scientists at the University of Colorado have enlisted light sensitive nanoparticles against antibiotic resistance, while a new tool could speed up antibiotic discovery.