Diagnostics; making a difference

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Testing the new Government - a diagnostics perspective on GE2015

Prime Minister David Cameron, has announced a review into antimicrobial resistance, and why so few drugs have been manufactured in recent years. The last major antibiotic was created in 1987.

Jim O’Neill, former Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs, will lead a global panel of experts from science, finance, industry, and global health, aiming to spur the development of a “new generation of antibiotics”. Work will begin in September, with the first £500,000 of the project being funded by the Wellcome Trust.  Mr O’Neill is expected to deliver his recommendations next spring.

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Diagnosing cancer earlier saves lives



Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest cancer charity, raising awareness and funding research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. In this article, Matthew Wickenden, Early Diagnosis Manager at Cancer Research UK tells us about the importance of early diagnosis for cancer outcomes, what Cancer Research UK are doing in this field, and how the UK can improve its standing on the international stage.

Part of our Guest Blogs Series 


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BIVDA Chief Exec addresses Parliamentary and Scientific Committee

Doris-Ann Williams MBE, CEO of BIVDA  presented to MPs at the latest meeting of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, which focused on life sciences in the UK. Welcomed to the meeting by Chair, Andrew Miller MP, Doris-Ann was joined by Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency, and Dr Malcolm Skingle CBE, Director, Academic Liaison, GlaxoSmithKline.    With a wide range of parliamentarians, academics and industry members in the audience, Doris-Ann gave an introduction to diagnostics. She outlined where diagnostics are used and the importance that they play throughout the patient pathway; diagnosing (or ruling out diagnosis), monitoring, screening and predicting/preventing illness. She also gave case studies showing their necessity to healthcare, as well as examples of tests, and how they can combat the ‘grand challenges’ of the day, free up NHS resource and meet previously unmet clinical need.  “The upcoming years may well b ...

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New NICE Guidance for Diabetes

NICE have issued two draft guidelines on diabetes care. Of the two documents, one focuses on adults with type 1 diabetes and the other concentrates on children and young adults, with either type 1 or type 2.  Sparking this call for updated guidance, the last was issued in 2004, is the worrying evidence that rates of diabetes diagnosis are swelling profusely throughout the country. Research shows that there are over 370,000 type 1 diabetes sufferers across the country, and 450 children with type 2.  The guidance for adults focuses on greater personalisation of care, and encourages a structured education program for diabetes sufferers to improve understanding. It also specifies achievable individualised targets for HbA1c levels and plasma glucose. The guidance supports testing at least 4 times a day on a routine basis for blood glucose and up to ten times if the patient fulfils any further conditions e.g. before and after sport, if they aren’t achieving HbA1c targets, during illness, pregn ...

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Diagnostics; tackling the spread of AMR

Antimicrobial Resistance has been a hot topic in the news again this week, as two reports have been released reviewing the AMR situation as it stands. The first annual progress report following the Government’s five year strategy 2013-18 into AMR has been issued, available here.  The report sets out what work is underway and some important achievements in the first year of the Strategy including: • establishing baseline data to improve the way we monitor antibiotic prescribing and trends in resistance • publishing antimicrobial prescribing quality measures • launching an Antibiotic Guardian campaign (during European Antibiotic Awareness Day) • improving the coordination of research into AMR • leading the development of a new World Health Organisation (WHO) resolution on AMR • establishing an independent Review on AMR The Antibiotic Guardian Campaign took place on European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which BIVDA were able to also contribute. You can find ...

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Increasing access to diagnostics hits the headlines again

Increasing access to diagnostics hits the headlines again Today (27 November, 2014) a commission established by the Lancet has reported that liver disease stands out as a glaring exception to the vast improvements made during the past 30 years in health and life expectancy for chronic disorders such as stroke, heart disease and many cancers. There are many striking things about this wide ranging and detailed report, but none more shocking than the fact that since the 1970s mortality rates from liver disease have increased 400 per cent, and in people younger than 65 years has risen by almost five-times.  To combat this increasing problem the commission, led by Prof Roger Williams, director of the Institute of Hepatology, calls for radical changes in the diagnosis of liver disease. Of particular interest, the report suggests that standard liver function tests provided in UK laboratories aren’t helping to detect early liver damage.  It also highlights that knowledge and awareness of liver dis ...

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Meeting the AMR Challenge for European Antibiotics Awareness Day

Today is European Antibiotics Awareness Day 2014 (EAAD). This International Day of awareness was started in order to educate people about the appropriate use of antibiotics, in the fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).  AMR is one of the most serious challenges to our health that we face. The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies has named it a “ticking time bomb” and the Government has ranked AMR on the list of threats to the UK, on a par with terrorism and major natural disasters, like flooding (see article). As resistance to antibiotics looms, the Chief Medical Officer has warned that today’s routine operations could become deadly in just 20 years if we lose the ability to fight infection. Across Europe, organisations and charities, clinicians and patients will be taking part in activities to spread the message – that the threats to antibiotics are severe, and we all must work together to reduce inappropriate prescribing. At BIVDA we will be taking part in Europea ...

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Party Conference Season 2014

With the 2015 General Election fast approaching, BIVDA co-hosted three discussion meetings at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat Party conferences.  As part of Life Science UK, and linking with the Association of Medical Research Charities, BIVDA welcomed a wide range of stakeholders to the meetings. Key issues were raised, including the adoption of vital technologies and innovations, and the value diagnostics can bring to the patient pathway.  Across the three meetings it was recognised that effectively and appropriately harnessing the wealth of data the NHS could potentially provide was fundamental to the future of research, reducing variation and ultimately optimisation of treatment and care for patients. In Manchester, Jamie Reed MP, Shadow Minister for Health, welcomed advancements in technology and heightened collaboration between healthcare partners and the NHS. A central tenet to his view was that while patients must be assured that their personal data is being used appropriatel ...

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Hepatitis Testing for Testing Tuesday

Today is Testing Tuesday! And this week we are raising awareness of Hepatitis. (Not heard of TestingTuesday? See here to find out more) On the 28th July it was National Hepatitis Awareness Day. A great collaborative effort was made from research councils, organisations, and charities to raise awareness about the threat of hepatitis, and its impact on national and international community.   It is estimated that approximately 1.4 million persons die each year globally from the various forms of viral hepatitis. But what is hepatitis? Well, Hepatitis is a term used to describe inflammation (swelling) of the liver. It can occur as the result of a viral infection or because the liver is exposed to harmful substances such as alcohol, and some drugs. Autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. There are 5 main hepatitis viruses; referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by taking in contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of contac ...

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Reshuffle Blog, out with the old in with the new?

Following four years in office, with a solid reputation for representing the scientific community, as well as British universities, David Willetts MP has moved on as Minister for Universities and Science. The work he has undertaken will of course be remembered, and we are still looking forward to working on the Catapult for Precision Medicine brought about by David Willetts.  The dual role of David “two brains” Willetts has been taken on by two MPs, George Freeman and Greg Clark.  George Freeman MP has become the Minister for Life Sciences, in a role well suited to his career history and expertise. Mr Freeman was elected as MP for Norfolk, and has recently acted as life sciences advisor to David Willetts from 2011 – 2013. His background is in biomedical science, and has worked for a number of companies, including CEO of a Cambridge start-up. George Freeman has had good links with the IVD industry in the past, and has encouraged joined up working in the life sciences. Greg Clark ...

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