May 2014

27 May 2014

This month saw the launch of our new PHG Foundation website, now fully accessible via mobile devices - we hope you like it. Look out for further new developments for website, news and opinion in the coming months!

Director’s Blog

We present a new feature – a regular view from the top on key issues in policy, genomics and health from our Director Dr Hilary Burton.

Opinion of the month

Introducing new blogger Lucia von Bredow, who in her first policy perspective sets out the need for impetus in using genomics in the UK National Health System.

Infectious diseases

The importance of genomics in understanding the recent increase in MERS virus infections is outlined, along with news of the potential value of the newly releasedTsetse fly genome.

Genomic medicine

Our Head of Science Dr Leila Luheshi argues that policy makers have a vital role to play in the introduction of genomic medicine, whilst researchers report that genetic targeting of treatment improves cancer outcomes.


The European Medicines Agency approves the first drug for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and the US moves to block misleading advertisement of nutritional supplements as tailored to individual genotypes.

Genetic testing and screening

The possibilities of predictive genetic testing for alcoholism and premature birth are raised by new research, the UK National Screening Committee announces an expansion of the newborn bloodspot programme, and a new low-cost provider joins the widening US market for BRCA testing. Meanwhile Head of Knowledge & Communications Dr Philippa Brice says more must be done to ensure appropriate health services are in place for those diagnosed with rare conditions.


Funding for bioinformatics to support genomics has featured on both sides of the Atlantic this month, with a new Canadian cloud facility and investment in clinical genome analytics in the UK.

Genomics of common diseases

A huge study shows that the impact of genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes is dwarfed by that of obesity, whilst other research suggests that conditions associated with chronic pain may share a genetic basis and a new centre is established to examine genetic factors in rheumatoid arthritis.