Healthcare

Genomics will change what patients expect from their provider, as well as change how physicians treat them. Before this happens, education on both sides is needed. This month we look at some of the big talking points.

Initial Study on Plasma Samples and Liquid Biopsy Potential Completed by Genomics England, Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific

The first stage of a collaboration between Genomics England, Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific looking to assess the suitability of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) samples collected during the 100,000 Genomes Project has now concluded. The collaboration was also created to objectively evaluate liquid biopsy market offerings and find evidence for implementing that technology in healthcare for better disease treatment and prevention.

Link Between Enhancers and Gene Activation Fleshed Out

The rules that cells use to determine which genes they must activate and under what conditions have been further uncovered by scientists at New York University. The findings develop the understanding around how gene variants affect phenotypic traits.

Two Studies Find Reasons for IO Drug Resistance

Two separate studies have uncovered insights into why checkpoint-inhibiting immune-oncology (IO) drugs only work for a minority of patients, even when combined with other treatments. The first study uncovered a resistance mechanism within the gut microbiome, while the other relates to cancer cell-produced vesicles.

Amazon Alexa Now HIPAA-Compliant Thanks to Tool Kits

Amazon has announced that new software for its Alexa virtual assistant will allow healthcare companies to build tools which can safely send private information to patients. The announcement was accompanied by the launch of six voice programs created by health companies including Boston Children’s Hospital and digital health company Livongo.

Depression Not Caused by Genetics Alone, Study Finds

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.

nQ Medical Wins “Most Innovative Breakthrough” Prize at D4 Conference

Out of a whole host of engaging and enjoyable moments at Front Line Genomics’ recent Data Driven Drug Development (D4) conference, held in Boston on 20-21 March, one of the most memorable was definitely the triumph of nQ Medical in our innovation showcase, beating out three other contenders for the claim to be “most innovative” of the technologies on display.

Biogen’s Lead Alzheimer’s Drug Falls Down at Phase Three Trials

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.

Gene Insertion Allows Blind Mice to See Again

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.

Researchers Identify PTSD Blood Biomarkers

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have found blood-based genetic markets of psychological stress which could lead to better diagnostics for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bring forward new drug development leads.

CAR-T Therapy Destroys Lupus in Mice

A number of mice have been cured entirely of lupus by a CAR-T treatment which wipes out the immune system’s B cells by spotting the CD19 protein marker which nearly all B cells carry.