September 2011

1 September 2011

Law and policy

Expanding capacity for genetic testing has prompted new guidance on patient consent and confidentiality for health professionals in the UK. A patent has been granted for methods to produce adult stem cells, whereas gene patenting may be on the wane. The FDA has released a strategic plan for ‘regulatory science’ whilst in Europe a new science policy body aims to represent researchers.

Cancer and stratified medicine

A major new programme of stratified cancer treatments is underway in the UK, as well as a clinical trial for cancer patients with BRCA mutations. New research has revealed mutations in a common gene among different cancers, and recurrent genetic changes in colorectal cancers.

Common diseases

An unusual new programme is offering gut bacterial DNA sequencing along with social networking for people with similar results. Genetic epidemiology has identified new genetic variants that influence risk of asthma and Parkinson’s disease, and a 23andMe study showed replication of gene-disease associations using self-reported medical information.

Genetic diseases

A genomic map of variants linked with developmental and intellectual disability has been published, along with reports of effective gene therapy for forms of severe immune deficiency and a new genetic cause of a rare genetic bleeding disorder.

Other medical research and development

Research has revealed a mechanism for stress-induced DNA damage, a genetic map of the mouse brain that may aid investigation of human diseases, and the creation of a new model system for Parkinson’s disease, and opportunities to use microbial genome sequencing in public health.

New reviews and commentaries

Other news