Good News: Gene Therapy and its potential impact on us all

It looks as if we are going to make big inroads into cancer, but not such inroads into preventing and treating Dementia and the diseases of old age. This is where future expenditure and medical staff will need to be concentrated. The cancer treatments will be expensive, and fear of missing out because of post-code rationing or frontier differences could be destructive. We cannot afford “everything for everyone for ever”.

Graham Templeton in Extreme Tech on April 1st 2014 writes: Gene therapy comes of age: We can now edit entire genomes to cure diseases

…… Gene therapy is one area of science that has consistently failed to achieve its therapeutic potential. Now, our abilities may finally be able to unlock some of the promise of real-world DNA manipulation, making hereditary and acquired genetic disease much more treatable. This study marks the beginning of a new era of usability in genetic manipulation, and everyone with DNA stands to benefit……

Examples are in Malignant Melanoma – New melanoma diagnosis and prognosis method patented= 20th February 2014 in eCancerNews and cutaneous testing for Malignant Melanoma

Nicholas Hellen in The Times reports 13th October 2013: ‘Wikipedia of genes’ to help fight disease 

A BIOTECH millionaire is backing a venture to create a “Wikipedia” of genetic disease data to help diagnose a vast array of uncured conditions.

Jonathan Milner, who has made a personal fortune of £118m from his firm Abcam, says it will help identify rare diseases and also give people early warning of breast cancer, obesity and diabetes.

Milner said: “Angelina Jolie was able to take preventative action against breast cancer. Others will be able to do likewise if they are shown to have a propensity to obesity or a high risk of prostate cancer.”

The genomics exchange is being devised by Fiona Nielsen, a Cambridge-based specialist in computing and bioinformatics.

She argues that it should be possible to diagnose any genetic disease — including cancers, metabolic disorders and autoimmune diseases — by sequencing a patient’s DNA. But she said discoveries remain hidden because fears over privacy mean that there is little sharing of data. Her co-venture, DNAdigest, will let researchers use genomics data from a vast number of diagnostic laboratories while keeping the source of it anonymous.

One of her fellow directors, Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, said: “We start with rare diseases because they are easiest to study and can unlock the most common conditions.” Al-Ubaydli founded Patients Know Best, used by 200,000 patients to take control of their medical records……”

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “Good News: Gene Therapy and its potential impact on us all

  1. Pingback: The threat of Malignant Melanoma: it may expose the Post Code Lottery at it’s worst | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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