May 2013

1 May 2013

Top stories this month

Researchers in the US have created the first ever viable human embryonic stem cells from adult tissue via ‘cloning’, whilst in the UK the House of Lords debated and ultimately upheld the new NHS commissioning regulations that came into force in April.

Opinion: ACMG clarification on incidental findings

Following our critique last month of the ACMG’s new guidelines on disclosing incidental findings to patients, PHG Foundation Chairman Ron Zimmern and Communications Director Philippa Brice address shortcomings in the clarification released by the ACMG this month.

Research regulation and funding

UK funders have issued a joint statement of concern over possible restrictions new EU regulations could place on research, whilst in the US the New York Times reports an unprecedented ‘arms race’ amongst institutions aiming to position themselves for an anticipated impending revolution in genomic healthcare.

Genes, disease and medicine

The UK conducts its first clinical trials of gene therapy to treat heart failure, new research shows that atherosclerosis is a product of an interplay between an individual’s genome, microbiome and diet, and a new collaborative Institute based at Oxford sets out to dramatically cut the costly high failure rate of medicines during stage 2 clinical trials.

Molecular genetics

New research suggests that huge groupings of gene regulators dubbed ‘super-enhancers’ may be the chief controllers of cell characteristics, and a new device set to begin commercial production could purify human DNA from fluid samples in as little as two minutes.

Public involvement

A UK focus group study finds that women appear unlikely to alter their decisions to attend mammography in light of the high rate of over-diagnosis highlighted by last year’s independent Marmot review, and a US study finds that many participants in the Personal Genome Project make themselves easily identifiable by either intentionally or inadvertently uploading personal details to their online profiles.

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