With numerous developments in science and technology over recent years, it’s come to the attention of critics that genomic advancements may be somewhat behind. There is pressure for genomic healthcare to proffer some interesting and useful results from research and clinic trials in 2018.
The question of nature versus nurture is highly contested, but there are many conditions with slight or strong genetic links that could explain their occurrence. Familial conditions that are thought to be inherited, such as cystic fibrosis, could be better understood, diagnosed and treated with advancements in genetic research. Mutant or faulty genes are at the heart of research for companies in the US and China, and it is hoped that 2018 will see some results about the safety of such treatment and the efficacy of the approach.
CRISPR-Cas9 technology was first discovered in 2019, and such targeted ability to edit genes with accuracy has reignited interest in investigating the root of genetic conditions. China and the US are currently undertaking trials to assess the effectiveness and safety of gene-editing, which hopefully will make progress in 2018.
New findings are suggesting that gene-editing could help with deafness, of which roughly half the cases are thought to be genetically inherited. Trials on mice have identified the Tmc1 gene, and Gao and colleagues have used Crispr-Cas9 technology to amend the gene.
The removal of the faulty element with a four-week period treatment has resulted in hearing at 15 decibels lower than for those untreated. Further testing is required to prove safety before trials can be advanced to human participants.
The UK’s Department of Health’s Genomic England project should be able to call time on their investigations in 2018. This will see 75,000 volunteers and 100,000 genomes having been logged in their database, which has the potential to be a significant element in diagnoses and treatments of genetic conditions. Given the continual technological and medical advancements, volunteers are in demand for research projects to advance current insights and knowledge, with clinical trial volunteers required at the likes of http://www.trials4us.co.uk/.
RNA (RiboNucleic Acid) therapies have seen a resurgence, especially with regards to Huntington’s disease. Trials are showing positive results in improving symptoms of this degenerative disease, opening the possibility for expansion to other dementia conditions that are increasingly prevalent.