Month: March 2015

Cambridge Rare Disease Network

Cambridge Rare Disease Network Launches Soon

As a strong supporter of the science research into all genetic and rare diseases, and in the search for finding new ways to to support and promote best practices, our team is very pleased to announce the newly created partnership between DNAdigest and the Cambridge Rare Disease Network. The Cambridge Rare Disease Network is a not-for-profit organisation based in Cambridge, UK. Their mission is to bring together the active stakeholders in rare disease research and development, to foster dialogue and to increase awareness. And they are officially launching on the 2nd of April 2015! Join them for this Launch Event which will take place on April 2nd at 5.00pm at the Cambridge Judge Business School. Keynote speakers will share their journey in building entire organisations in order to find a cure for their children affected by a rare disease. Keynote speakers include: Dr Nick Sireau, Founder of the AKU Society and charity Findacure; Ms Kay Parkinson, Founder of patient group Alstrom Syndrome Society; Dr Will Evans, Trustee of the Niemann-Pick Disease Group; Dr Cesare Spadoni, Founder of aPODD Foundation. Do register for this event, using the CRDN eventbrite page and visit their website to search for more information about this exciting organisation.

Tony Calland

Trust Transparency Must Underpin Technological Change

Guest post by Dr Tony Calland, Joint Vice Chair, Health Research Authority (HRA) Confidentiality Advisory Group. This blog post was originally published by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and it is based on the talk Dr Calland gave at the launch of the Council’s report: The collection, linking and use of data in biomedical research and health care: ethical issues. The UK is very fortunate to have a well constructed digital medical record system covering all of the 60 million citizens in these islands. The computerised GP record holds many treasures, some yet undiscovered, recognising new associations between medical conditions or events which will enhance our understanding of disease and treatment.The Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) database similarly holds a wealth of information. The power that can be generated by linking just these two is very considerable indeed, let alone linkage between many other databases, medical and non medical. The value of this is twofold: it offers the ability to develop medical advances in diagnosis, treatment and innovation, as well as creating a huge commercial opportunity to increase the wealth of the country hopefully for the benefit of all. However, to be able to utilise this national resource our communications and […]

DNAdigest interviews Genomic Medicine Alliance – Part 2

As promised last week, we are publishing the Part 2 interview with Professor George P. Patrinos about the Genomic Medicine Alliance. Look what more he shared with us. Enjoy the read and stay tuned for our next interviews that are coming soon. Professor George P. Patrinos (University of Patras Department of Pharmacy, Patras, Greece) Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of the Genome Informatics Working Group at GMA 4. What is your role in the organisation and how does your personal background support it? I currently serve the GMA as Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee and recently appointed as Co-Chair of the Genome Informatics Working Group, supervising related projects. This role is supported by our academic activities within my research group at the University of Patras, Department of Pharmacy in Patras, Greece and with close collaboration with other colleagues from the University of Patras and other academic institutions in Greece and abroad. 5. The Genomic Medicine Alliance activities are divided into distinct Working Groups. Could you list them for us and briefly describe what they are about and their main aims? GMA research activities span 7 different Working Groups: Genome Informatics, Pharmacogenomics, Cancer Genomics, Rare Diseases and Drug Outcomes, […]

viral metagenomics

Viral Metagenomics in the Field and in the Clinic

I am very happy to present you a summary of the paper “Beyond research: a primer for considerations on using viral metagenomics in the field and clinic” to which our CEO, Fiona Nielsen, is a co-author. The paper by Hall et al discusses the issues arising when considering metagenomics sequencing for critical applications in the field or clinical applications. What is metagenomics? Usually researchers obtain genetic material (e.g. DNA) from a single source – from an individual patient, isolated plant, fungus, bacteria, virus, etc. But in reality, there are many situations in which myriads of different organisms are present together and it is impossible to isolate their DNA individually. Examples include plants, fungi, and bacteria living in soil or water in a certain area, gut flora living in the human digestive tract, different viruses that affect animals and plants etc. Metagenomics studies genetic material obtained directly from environmental samples, allowing one to identify all species present in the sample at once. This makes metagenomics a very powerful diagnostic tool, and clinical laboratories are about to start using it. But before it takes off, there are several serious issues that need to be sorted out. Hall and collaborators highlight some of […]

DNAdigest interviews Genomic Medicine Alliance – Part 1

As the year goes over, so does our full schedule with interviews. This week, we would like to introduce you to Professor George P. Patrinos. As a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Genomic Medicine Alliance (GMA) he introduced us to the background and workings of the GMA. 1. Could you please give us a short introduction to the Genomic Medicine Alliance (goals, interests, mission)? The Genomic Medicine Alliance (GMA) is a global academic research network. It aims to build and strengthen collaborative ties between academics, researchers, regulators and those members of the general public who are interested in genomic medicine. The GMA focuses particularly on the translation of new research findings into clinical practice in developed, but most importantly, in developing countries. The GMA aims to: Encourage and catalyze multidisciplinary collaborative research between partner institutions and scientists, particularly from developing countries, Liaise between research organizations, clinical entities and regulatory agencies in areas related to genomic medicine, Facilitate the introduction of pharmacogenomics and advanced omics technologies into mainstream clinical practice, Propose guidelines and draw up recommendations in all areas pertaining to genomic medicine, in close collaboration with other scientific academic entities, agencies and regulatory bodies, and, Develop independently and coordinate, in close […]

The Patient Charter

Genome sequencing: What do patients think?

Guest post by Alice Hazelton from the Genetic Alliance UK Genomic information has the potential to transform healthcare. Researchers are continually learning more about the genome and the genetic basis of disease and as the cost of genome sequencing technologies and analytics tools decrease, more and more research will become possible. This will help us to achieve a greater understanding of how our genes affect our health and develop new diagnostic tools, screening methods and treatments for some conditions. The sharing of patient data will play a crucial role in this. Whenever the sharing of patient data is discussed, public debate ensues over concerns about data security, privacy and access. But little work has been done to establish what patients, as the end-beneficiaries of medical research, think about sharing data. Through an online engagement project, ‘My Condition, My DNA’, Genetic Alliance UK sought the views of patients affected by rare and genetic conditions, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, on genome sequencing. Four sessions including text, podcasts, videos and questions were distributed to patients over the course of four weeks, allowing them to take part in their own homes at a time convenient for them. One of these sessions was about the use […]

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