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Genomics Week in Brief: Week ending 10th November

Looking for a summary of cutting-edge research from the last seven days? Then Week in Brief has you covered!

This week, researchers made discoveries that could transform the treatment of inflammatory conditions…

  • Markers of inflammatory bowel diseases could be picked up years before diagnosis via a simple blood test. This could allow those at risk of diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis to take preventative action (Cell Reports Medicine).
  • Eating broccoli sprouts early in life could mitigate the symptoms of inflammatory bowel conditions. A study in mouse models showed that young mice on this diet have fewer symptoms and a healthier microbiome (mSystems).

There were significant findings in the neuroscience and psychiatry fields…

  • A gene that affects synapses and is associated with autism spectrum disorder has been implicated in the disruption of early brain development (Nature Neuroscience).
  • Researchers have identified a number of biomarkers that can be assessed through brain-imaging and are predictive of mental illness in adolescents (Biological Psychiatry).
  • A study has revealed that a number of physical health conditions share genetic links with post-traumatic stress disorder (JAMA Psychiatry).

We’ve also seen a number of updates in cancer research…

  • Using large-scale CRISPR-screening, researchers have identified a master regulator that can reprogram T cells and improve their ability to fight cancer (Nature Genetics).
  • In the largest study of its kind, researchers have identified hundreds of genes associated with prostate cancer risk (Nature Genetics).
  • A new study of multiple myeloma has revealed how interactions between tumour cells and the microenvironment shape treatment response and disease progression (Nature Cancer).

Furthermore, new suggestions have been made regarding screening, prevention and diagnosis…

  • An Australian study has suggested that population-wide genetic screening could be a cost-effective measure to reduce mortality for a number of serious yet preventable diseases (eClinicalMedicine).
  • A study has shown that GPT-4 could be used to effectively triage and diagnose patients without inherent racial biases. However, the model would need to be continually validated to ensure that it remains effective even in the wake of new information being provided (JMIR Medical Education).
  • Scientists are developing a finger-prick test that could be used at home to diagnose brain tumour recurrence. This would provide a less disruptive and quicker alternative to the current standard, MRIs (The Guardian).

Finally, what else has gone on this week in the genomics world?

  • Researchers have announced the birth of the first chimeric primate; a monkey with cells derived from a stem-cell line (Cell).
  • A large-scale study of samples from rheumatoid arthritis patients revealed distinct disease subgroups and identified potential targeted treatment pathways (Nature).
  • Around 4% of Icelandic individuals carry ‘actional genotypes’ that are associated with a decreased lifespan. Examples of this include genes linked to cancer and cardiovascular diseases (NEJM).

Check out last week’s Week in Brief here!