Study reveals genetic variations that raise the risk of breast, prostate or ovarian cancer
Over 80 regions of the genome that can increase an individual’s risk of breast, prostate and ovarian cancers have been found in the largest ever study of its kind.
The research, led by Institute scientists and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, funded by Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust, could lead to new treatments, targeted screening and a greater understanding of how these diseases develop.
Study author Professor Doug Easton, from the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, said: “We’re on the verge of being able to use our knowledge of these genetic variations to develop tests that could complement breast cancer screening and take us a step closer to having an effective prostate cancer screening programme.
Professor Paul Pharoah, also from the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, said: “The identification of genetic variants that are associated with cancer risks will give us important insights into the basic biology of cancer that may lead to the development of new therapies or better ways to target existing therapies.”
Implications of personalised cancer screening examined
The implications of using genetic information to enable personalised cancer screening were examined in research also published by Institute scientists this week.
The report authors, from the PHG Foundation and the Institute, conclude that genetic research can be used to create new and improved stratified screening programmes. However, they warn that stratified screening will be complex, requiring genetic testing and integration of results into a risk assessment process as well as differential care pathways for people in different risk groups. Questions about the storage, access and privacy of genetic data will also arise.
The new public health network, PublicHealth@Cambridge, launched to a capacity audience on Monday 25th March with a series of lively talks looking at new angles on public health – from engineering to philosophy. Key themes for the Network were announced and the University’s Vice-Chancellor provided impetus to the drive to provide visibility to the rich and extensive body of work on public health being carried out here at Cambridge.
or email Dr Paula Frampton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public ratings for healthcare
A feedback system similar to the travel research website Trip Advisor was envisaged by Professor Martin Roland, GP and Director of Institute member Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research, in a personal vision about future healthcare for the Cambridge Science Festival on 14 March.
Meanwhile the Government announced a new public ratings system for hospitals as part of its response to the mid-Staffs hospital care crisis.
Check the Government’s response to the Francis report here:
Institute of Public Health at the Science Festival
The Biology Zone was packed with MRC related activities. The MRC Epidemiology Unit focused on how the latest technology can record how much we move and the impact on health, plus predictions on the future of physical activity for the next 100 years to link in with the MRC Centenary.
For ideas for next year – check out the 2013 Science Festival:
A database built by medical funders aims to speed up the search for brain tissue for use in research. A collaboration between the MRC (Medical Research Council) and five charities (Multiple Sclerosis Society, Parkinson’s UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Autistica). The Brain Banks Network collates information on samples held by 10 brain banks across the UK.
Nuffield Trust – new insight into NHS challenges from departing health leaders
April 1 sees some 160 NHS organisations, including all primary care trusts and strategic health authorities, abolished as hundreds more – 211 clinical commissioning groups plus a clutch of new national bodies and their regional arms – come formally into existence. The result is what must be an unprecedented turnover of NHS chief executives. This set of interviews, by Nicholas Timmins, presents insights from a selected few.