2018: Population Studies, Immunotherapy, CRISPR, Genomic Medicine,…2019

2018 was full of significant developments in the life sciences, precision medicine, genetics, and genomics sector. Highlights and notable news included various technological advancements, new clinical applications of next-generation sequencing, success in population studies, genetics moving into the clinic, artificial intelligence and machine learning investments and potentials, immunotherapy further establishing itself as the leading weapon to attack cancer, the CRISPR technology being under fire, and more.

The significance of these developments is further manifested by clinical omics taking shape, hospitals adopting new applications, and testing and treatments coming into play that are based on next-generation sequencing or omics data. The results speak a clear language: improved diagnostic tests, and more precise therapeutics.

Here a few highlights – not an all-inclusive summary – of what made 2018 so exciting. Find a more complete list of 2018 news on the enlightenbio Industry News site.

Population studies taking shape

Various population studies/initiatives took shape this year, as demonstrated with projects such as…

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At AGBT 2016, the Winners Are Long Reads and Whole Solutions

AGBT_logo_RGBThis year’s pilgrimage of geneticist, genomics scientists, and along with that commercial companies was to the JW Marriott in Orlando and not as usual to Marco Island – however, we were assured that the next two AGBT events are already confirmed to be held on Marco Island again. The Orlando Marriott setting seemed fine; nothing beats the Marco island environment with its beach setting which is well worth the extra hour bus ride from the airport to take you there. Having said this, the setting appeared to be more favorable for the vendors in particular, given the more open arrangement of large suites inviting easy access and interactions with conference attendees. Continue reading

UCSC Genomics Institute’s Director David Haussler Addresses “Data Solutions in Clinical Genomics” Questions

UCSCThe following blog is a repost of a recent post by Tal Behar, Co-founder & Executive Director at PMWC Intl, on LinkedIn Pulse. We believe this post – a set of questions and answers to the UCSC Genomics Institute’s director David Haussler – is of interest to the enlightenbio audience which is why we requested the repost. It addresses big genomic data questions related to the clinical setting, such as large-scale genomics activities under way or in the process of getting started, the efforts of the Data Working Group of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) and why this working group is needed, observed challenges with data storage, analysis, and sharing platforms, and last but not least what other organizations or commercial companies can learn from organizations like the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. Continue reading

AHSG 2015 Roundup – Big Data, Heritability, Epigenetics, Enhancers, and Patients as Partners

ASHG-2015-meeting-logoThe ASHG conference in Baltimore was accompanied by some broadly discussed highlights which are reflected in how the media and the social networks embraced it. It was nice to see that the coverage spanned not just commercial launches, but also included research highlights and other general announcements.

Before summarizing the different announcements, I want to state how exciting it was hearing Dr. Francis Collins (Director of NIH) talking about his vision of the new Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) and the many opportunities it presents to advance its clinical application by creating a cohort of a million individuals. In his presentation, he was asking for a new rule of participants in health studies. In the same go he thanked the Henrietta Lacks family, which was present in the audience, for all they did to further science – the Henrietta Lacks’ descendants now serve as advisers to the NIH.

Another highlight of the conference was the first “Art and Science of Science Communication” session put in place by Chris Gunter, this year’s program Chair. The invited panel consisted of Ed Yong, staff scientist at The Atlantic and author of the blog “Not Exactly Rocket Science”, Liz Neeley, executive director of The Story Collider, and Andrea Downing, author of the blog Brave Bosom and creator of an online community Continue reading

At ASHG 2014 genomics was everywhere, with big data and variant analysis/interpretation

AHSG Last week the annual gathering of human geneticists happened at the convention center in sunny San Diego. This year this engaging conference was dominated by genomics, and in particular the topics of big data, variant analysis and interpretation. This emphasis was clearly reflected in the scientific talks, but also in the commercial sector with many companies focusing on providing new solutions on variant analysis, reaching even into the clinical space.

Besides the scientific and commercial aspect of ASHG, which I will summarize later in this blog post, this year the conferences had a strong human side associated with it. For the first time two movies were presented – Genetics in Motion Movies – that were engaging and spot on considering recent news and announcements about the benefits and/or conflicts of knowing and understanding genetic diseases. The first movie [Twitch with Kristen Powers] explored the impact of genetic testing on a young person whose mother had Huntington’s disease. While the movie follows Kristen Powers as she undergoes testing for the disease, it also examines the basic science of the disease itself. The second movie [On Beauty with Rick Guidotti] nicely addresses the need of first recognizing the person before the disease. Rick Guidotti achieves this phenomenally by capturing the beauty of an individual person and not focusing primarily on the disease – his pictures are indeed amazing. Of special interest in this context is

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ASHG 2013 delivered a mix of worthy news and acquisitions

ASHGLast week the world of human geneticists met in Boston for their annual conference to meet and engage with other scientists, to share their latest findings, or to learn about new products and how they can make their life a lot easier. Here are BostonSkylightssome of the major announcements from the ASHG conference that are worth mentioning:

Personalis Launches the ACE Clinical Exome™: Personalis, a provider of whole genome and exome sequencing and data interpretation services launched early access to their single test ACE Clinical Exome program, which integrates exome sequencing with genome-wide structural variant detection. The early access program will provide clinical reports with a turnaround time of 8 to 12 weeks. The full service is expected to launch in Q1 of 2014.

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