By Sarah Carlin on 1 October 2018
Hot topics: What’s caught our eye this week
With personalised approaches undoubtedly representing the direction of travel in many areas of medicine, we were pleased to read that UK researchers from the University of Oxford, facilitated by the UK government’s 100,000 Genomes Project and in partnership with Public Health England, have made a major advance in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). While the UK’s vaccination programme means that this is now a relatively rare disease here, it’s another story elsewhere in the world. In 2016, 10.4 million people around the world contracted TB, with a further 1.7 million dying from the disease or its complications.
However, researchers have discovered that our understanding of the genetic code of TB is now detailed enough to predict a person’s response to treatment. Using rapid DNA sequencing, it will be possible to give the correct drugs first time – improving cure rates and helping to stop the spread of drug-resistant strains.
Undoubtedly, access to these personalised treatments will take a long time to filter down to patients – especially given the prevalence of TB in the developing world – but it’s unquestionable that discoveries like this are the next frontier of medicine.
Those in the know had recognised this trend already, but a report from Ernst and Young – Pulse in the Industry – has recently suggested that underinvestment in new medical technology could threaten growth in the medtech sector. The report noted that despite revenue climbing, growth in 2017 was low at just 4%, contrasted with the 15% average annual growth rate achieved between 2000 and 2007.
With industry outsiders like Amazon and Apple snapping at the medtech sector’s heels, it needs to move fast if it is to ensure it carves out sustainable space in this growing market.
As any parent who has tried to wrestle their teenager away from Fortnite will testify, gaming is big business. And now, the Stand up for Cancer campaign by Cancer Research UK is tapping into this growing community with its new campaign. An advert by Anomaly unites heroes from games including Fifa 19, Destiny 2 and Sonic Forces and encourages the UK’s 32.4 gaming-enthusiasts to take part in gaming-specific fundraising challenges such as gaming marathons, gaming tournaments and fancy dress streaming. We’ll be interested to see what results arise from this very interest-specific approach.