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Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton
4 min. read

It’s week three of March, our weekly Industry Watch brings readers a round-up of industry news and inspiring new medical discoveries and research to help us better understand diseases and the patient populations we serve.

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In this week’s edition we’ll feature; A new blood test has been developed that detects Alzheimer’s biomarkers in plasma; The first national program for donating unused prescription drugs, is now open for business; An international study has published The largest genetic map of mental health disorders to date; Researchers in the UK have discovered a toolkit to repair DNA breaks that are linked to aging, cancer and MND; The Lancet HIV has just published a 30 month follow up of the second patient cured of HIV; Doctors in Portland have attempted the 1st CRISPR Editing in the Body for Blindness; Gene therapy reverses heart failure in mouse model of Barth syndrome.

Doctors Try 1st CRISPR Editing in the Body for Blindness

Scientists from Portland say they have used the gene editing tool CRISPR inside someone's body for the first time. The people in this study have Leber congenital amaurosis, caused by a gene mutation that keeps the body from making a protein needed to convert light into signals to the brain, which enables sight. The hope is that the ends of DNA will reconnect and allow the gene to work as it should. It may take up to a month to see if it worked to restore vision.

Symphony Health partners with Datavant for the industry’s deepest patient journey

Customers will now be able to connect, expand and analyze all relevant data types – electronic health records, medical and pharmacy claims, diagnostic lab datasets, demographics, and information from patient wearables and sensors collected during clinical trials. Leveraging these integrated data sets, customers can then build bespoke, fit-for-purpose data assets, custom data strategies and develop unique insights for their business with support from PRA and Symphony data experts.

New Blood Test Detects Alzheimer’s Biomarkers in Plasma

Researchers have developed yet another blood test that may help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test is able to detect core biomarkers of the neurodegenerative disease in plasma. The test, which has an 88 percent average accuracy was developed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It involves a multiplexed electrical biosensor that’s considered highly sensitive.

Experts discover toolkit to repair DNA breaks linked to aging, cancer and MND

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and Oxford have discovered a new 'toolkit' to repair damaged DNA that can lead to ageing, cancer and Motor Neurone Disease (MND). The research shows that a protein called TEX264, together with other enzymes, is able to recognise and 'eat' toxic proteins that can stick to DNA and cause it to become damaged. An accumulation of broken, damaged DNA can cause cellular ageing, cancer and neurological diseases such as MND. Until now, ways of repairing this sort of DNA damage have been poorly understood, but scientists hope to exploit this novel repair toolkit of proteins to protect us

#FlipYourScrip to Easily Donate Unused Drugs

A first-of-its-kind national program for donating unused prescription drugs, is now open for business and accepting unexpired bottles of pills or capsules in order to pass them along to needy patients. The company says it "hopes to effectively create a 'national' program by networking the existing state repository programs with cancer clinics, oncology offices, and anyone else who serves vulnerable cancer patients."

Second Patient Cured of HIV Still Clear

The Lancet HIV has just published a 30 month follow up of the second ever patient to be cured of HIV, finding that they are still free of intact HIV. What does this mean for the prospects of an HIV cure?

Gene therapy reverses heart failure in mouse model of Barth syndrome

The Barth syndrome is a rare genetic disease in boys that can cause life-threatening heart failure and also weakens the skeletal muscles and the immune system. There is no specific treatment, but new research, involving new mouse models, shows the potential of a gene therapy approach in preventing and reversing cardiac dysfunction in Barth syndrome.

Researchers create the largest genetic map of mental health disorders to date

The largest genetic map of mental health disorders to date reveals there are three groups of highly genetically related disorders among eight psychiatric disorders. The study determines the specific genes that the different pathologies share and completes the genetic map of psychiatric disorders.