March 2014

1 March 2014

Top story this month

Following the first partner meeting of the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health in London, PHG Foundation Director Dr Hilary Burton emphasises the importance of developing the clinical as well as research interfaces.

Opinion: China moves to control medical genetic testing

In the last month China has moved from having no regulation of genetic testing to a strict regime requiring approval for all medical applications; Dr Ron Zimmern and Dr Philippa Brice consider the potential motivations behind this change.

Genetic testing and public health

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is shown to outperform current screening for aneuploidy in the general pregnant population in the US, and a genetic test for human papilloma virus is recommended for cervical cancer screening in the UK. Prospects for the use of genetic testing in prostate cancer screening, diabetes diagnosis and the management of obesity are also highlighted.

Personalised medicine

A new discussion paper looks at the potential and problems of clinical genome sequencing. Gene therapy is boosted by a promising new approach to HIV treatment, but there is gloom for regenerative medicine as further doubts are cast on the recently revealed ground-breaking technique for stem cell creation.

Policy and regulation

Both sides of the Atlantic have been examining the issue of the mitochondrial transfer cloning technique, as the UK Department of Health consults on regulation to support clinical and economic benefits and the US FDA reviews the science.

Rare diseases

Appropriately for a month that included Rare Disease Day, development of a national strategy for health services in England has moved forward slightly and Canada has launched a collaborative initiative to support improved diagnosis. The UK has also unveiled plans to allow earlier access to potential new treatments.

External news and opinion