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Genomics week in brief: Week ending 12th December

The penultimate week in brief before Christmas, full of the latest research and news surrounding genomics.

Top stories from the past week

  • Researchers have found a novel form of the Alzheimer’s protein tau in the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This form – known as MTBR tau – can indicate what stage of Alzheimer’s a person is in. (Bateman et al, 2020)
  • Scientists have identified genetic variants in childhood cancer survivors of African ancestry that increase their risk of treatment-related heart problems. (Yasui et al, 2020)
  • A new approach to cancer therapy has shown that adding anti-inflammatory medication celecoxib to gemcitabine chemotherapy converted gemcitabine from a non-immunogenic drug to an immunogenic drug. This transformation triggered an immune response in mice. (Chan et al, 2020)
  • A long-term study of mitochondrial gene therapy in macaques has found no adverse health effects. (Mitalipov et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have identified a 76-protein proteomic age signature that can predict accumulation of chronic diseases and all-cause mortality. (Tanaka et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have developed a gut-on-a-chip platform to model the human intestine and key aspects of inflammatory bowel disease. This platform could be scaled up to assess compound efficacy. (Janssen et al, 2020
  • New findings have revealed a human-specific connection between advanced carcinomas and a gene called SIGLEC12. (Varki et al, 2020)
  • An international team of researchers have reported that mutations in a gene known to underlie a rare skin disorder also lead to a serious heart disease. (Uitto et al, 2020)
  • UNBR5 protein, found at high levels in aggressive forms of ovarian cancer, is found to draw in immune cells and thus promote tumour growth. (Ma et al, 2020)
  • UCLA researchers have identified a potential diagnostic marker that could help predict how likely someone with cervical cancer will respond to chemotherapy and radiation. (Srivatsan et al, 2020)

In other news

  • UK Biobank has launched ‘The Pharma Proteomic Project’ – a study to measure circulating concentrations of almost 1,500 plasma proteins in approximately 53,000 UK Biobank participants. A consortium of leading biopharmaceutical companies have commissioned and funded the study. (UK Biobank, 2020)


  • Avoid the January blues and register for the Festival of Genomics & Biodata 2021. With a host of amazing speakers and cutting-edge content this event won’t be one to miss! Register now.
  • Catch up on demand with our recent ‘Single Cell ONLINE’ webinar series, where we delve further into the technology that is giving insights into cellular heterogeneity


  • Get your free copy of our report – ‘Biology at High Resolution – Advances in Single Cell Analysis: A Review’. The report includes lessons learned from global researchers, discussions about the clinical applicability of single cell analysis and some exciting insights into how single cell analysis is being delivered. Download now.
  • Download our free guide – ‘Sample Preparation Guide for MPS’ – that covers everything you need to know about sample preparation. Written by Professor David Smith (Mayo Clinic), this report will help you start your genomics workflow right! Download the report now.