Genetics key to the future of diagnostics
Genomics, the study of a person’s genes and their interactions with other genes and the person’s environment, is a relatively new approach to understanding complex diseases, from heart disease to cancer, and its application in biomedical research is expected to accelerate over the next century, according to Elsevier.
From 2016-2024, oncology gene editing will witness robust 15.9% CAGR, according to Global Market Insights.
Cancer will remain one of the leading causes of death globally. As such, oncology gene editing should exceed US$874mn by 2024 owing to growing prevalence of various types of cancers.
Many cancers now are not diagnosed or staged simply on traditional pathology morphology – genetics are used to differentiate them.
“All kinds of cancers, we’re now having to differentiate them by their genetics. Based on their genetics we can determine prognosis, can determine treatment response,” said Jim Slater, CEO, Diagnostic Services Manitoba.
“You can identify those that will relapse and now there are drugs specifically targeted people with different specific types of genes.”
But it’s not just cancer treatment that genomics, genetic medicine and gene editing will play a part in over the coming years.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), in 2017, approximately 50mn Americans are suffering from autoimmune disease.
The high prevalence of autoimmune diseases demands for new treatment approach, which may include biomarkers, stem cell research, and genetic research.
Biological agents such as TNF agents, monoclonal antibodies, tissue and organ engineering procedure, gene-based delivery system, modulators of the immune system, and cell-based treatments are under evaluation for the treatment of autoimmune diseases in near future.
Genetic testing can occur right from the very start of the human lifecycle.
“Even before conception we’re doing genetic testing on parents or presumptive parents before they have children,” continued Slater.
“There’s a huge challenge though coming, we’re nowhere near where we need to be when it comes to the future of genetic testing.”
Those looking to genetics for treating their complex diseases will certainly be hoping that Elsevier’s prediction is correct.
NHS care homes are better than private, report finds
A new survey has found that 60% of people with parents in NHS care homes believe the quality of care has improved, compared to just 49% of respondents with parents in private care facilities.
The survey was conducted by Kepler Vision Technologies, an AI-driven company formed at the University of Amsterdam. It was carried out among UK adults with parents over the age of 75.
Respondents cited more capable care staff and better monitoring systems as being the main reasons for improvement.
However those who do not have parents in assisted living facilities had a different viewpoint - in this case only 35% of respondents believe that NHS facilities are improving, compared to 32% who believe it is only improving in the private sector.
Only 18% of people whose parents live with them or independently believe care home staff are able to look after residents to a good standard.
Kepler Vision say this difference in opinion is due to perceived budget cuts and financial pressures, with 67% of people commenting that a lack of funding has had a negative effect on care in both NHS and private care facilities.
Other key findings of the survey include:
* Out of those who say quality has declined in care homes, 69% say the NHS is dealing with budget cuts and increased financial pressure, while 65% also said that the private system is dealing with these pressures too
* 55% said that they or their parent have money saved specifically to pay for their future care
* 35% said the idea of their parent in a care home makes them feel frightened, although 32% say it makes them feel secure
* 52% are worried about their parent catching COVID
* 47% are worried about their parent being lonely
* 46% are concerned they could fall over alone
The announcement of this research follows the UK government's decision to delay presenting its social care budget till the autumn.
Commenting on the research, Dr Harro Stokman, CEO of Kepler Vision Technologies said: “While it is good to see that people recognise the importance of staff and face-to-face interaction in elderly care, the huge gap in opinion between those with parents in care and those without shows that there are unfair negative perceptions around the residential care space.
"More can and should be done by care homes to give people the confidence that their relatives will receive the very best care - by highlighting the excellent work of staff and how well they are able to monitor resident’s needs with easy-to-use technology.”