Genetic Test Results Do Not Trigger Increased Use of Health Services

People have increasing opportunities to participate in genetic testing that can indicate their range of risk for developing a disease. Receiving these results does not appreciably drive up or diminish test recipients’ demand for potentially costly follow-up health services, according to a study performed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues at other institutions.

Genetic Testing

The GE Healthymagination Initiative Against Cancer

In September, GE and leading healthcare and financial partners launched a new healthymagination initiative focused on accelerating cancer innovation and improving care for 10 million cancer patients around the world by 2020 [1]. The plan was announced in New York by GE’s CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt to an audience of prominent cancer scientists and researchers, doctors, financial partners and employees of GE Healthcare. The company’s comprehensive initiative combines the strength of GE’s portfolio of integrated cancer technologies with collaboration between GE and new partners and data sources to help clinicians provide better, more personalized care.

GE accelerates cancer fight

Scientists Correct Sickle Cell Disease in Adult Mice

National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded scientists have corrected sickle cell disease in adult laboratory mice by activating production of a special blood component normally produced before, but not after, birth.

Sickle cell disease is a recessive genetic disorder caused by a single base mutation in the gene for hemoglobin, beta locus (HBB). Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. People living with sickle cell disease have two copies of an altered gene that produces sickle hemoglobin instead of normal adult hemoglobin. Sickle hemoglobin changes shape after releasing its oxygen, causing the red blood cell to become stiff, misshapen and sticky, and slowing blood flow to tissues. This process damages organs and causes pain.

Normal hemoglobin vs sickle cell

A Step Toward Personalized Asthma Treatment, Gene Variant Linked to Drug Response

Inhaled corticosteroids are used by millions of asthma patients every day. However, as with all treatments to control asthma, there is marked patient-to-patient variability in the response to treatment. New research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has identified a genetic variant associated with the response to inhaled corticosteroids [1]. Investigators have found that asthma patients who have two copies of a specific gene variant responded only one-third as well to steroid inhalers as those with two copies of the regular gene.

Asthmatic using an inhaler

Repurposing Existing Medicines for New Indications

Researchers have developed an innovative way to predict new uses for existing medicines. Using computers and genomic information, scientists at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, have established a method to identify FDA-approved drugs that may work against diseases they weren’t originally designed to combat. New research published in two articles in the August 17th online issue of Science Translational Medicine highlights two such repurposed drugs that may be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease and lung cancer [1-2].

Repurposing drugs