Sano Genetics, a Cambridge-based research start-up, has secured £500,000 in seed funding for its platform which powers research into common disorders like depression and diabetes, as well as rare ones such as muscular dystrophy.
A study conducted by Northwestern University researchers has found that long-term poverty can be “embedded” across the genome. Lower socioeconomic status was found to be associated with levels of DNA methylation, a key epigenetic mark that can influence expression, across more than 1,500 genes.
A new large-scale study of depression, analysing more than 620,000 individuals, has found that there is no single gene for the disorder, rewriting years of hypotheses and striking a blow to clinical agencies who hoped to create diagnostic tools and treatments for the faulty genes.
Scientists have identified the genes in woman which for sixty years made her virtually immune to pain and anxiety. Two mutations, one common and one not, were responsible for the condition of the woman, resulting also in her wounds healing abnormally quickly.
A collaboration between Viapath, NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre has created the world’s first nanopore-based genetic sequencing test for Huntington’s disease, now available at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. If successful, the test could cut waiting time for complicated Huntington’s cases, and could have big ramifications for other disorders in the future.
Harvard College researchers have announced that more than 13,000 genetic alterations have been made to a single cell using CRISPR technology. This work is designed to edit genomes at a much larger scale than currently possible.
Oncology and precision medicine company Strata Oncology has announced the launch of its expanded StrataNGS test 3.0 for patients with advanced cancer. The test analyses 500 genes for three particular immunotherapy biomarkers, microsatellite instability (MSI), tumor mutational burden (TMB) and PD-L1, to better inform use of precision treatments.
Pharma giant Biogen and its Japanese partner Eisai have made the decision to halt two phase 3 trials of aducanumab, a drug created to slow Alzheimer’s by targeting brain-destroying beta-amyloid fragments. An independent monitoring committee decided that the drug was unlikely to benefit patients compared with a placebo.
Microsoft has created the first ever “DNA drive”, a program which can encode digital information into DNA and vice versa. The prototype managed to store and hold only the word “hello”, taking 21 hours to complete the process due to the slow chemical reactions which writing DNA involves.
For the first time, CRISPR-Cas9 has been combined with electronic graphene transistors to create a new handheld device which can detect specific mutations in the genome within minutes. The device can be used to quickly diagnose genetic disorders and diseases or determine the accuracy of gene-editing techniques.
Scientists from the University of California have announced a possible alternative option to electronic eye implants for those who have lost their sight: gene therapy. Virus-delivered genes for green opsin gave blind mice sight enough to determine patterns on an iPad, they found, with the therapy possibly ready for clinical trials in three years’ time.
The scientists of seven nations have called for a halt to gene-editing experiments seeking to alter heritable traits in human babies.
Oxford Nanopore has made its Flongle starter packs available to purchase, following an early-access testing programme. The Flongle machine allows for smaller, on-demand DNA sequence testing at low cost.
Commercial DNA-analysing company 23andMe is looking to launch a new DNA assessment to help individuals discover their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Several million customers will receive the information over the coming weeks.