Author: Jo Seed

New asthma treatment candidate provides hope to millions

By IGHI guest blogger Chanice Henry, Pharma IQ

Researchers have uncovered a new drug candidate that could relieve millions of people who are under-served by current asthma treatments.  

Asthma is a relatively common disease that hinders the respiration of over 300 million individuals globally, leading to episodes of wheezing, chest tightness and other severe problems.

Limitations

Indeed inhalers and other medications exist to manage the disease. However, many of these manufactured treatments have critical side effects and fail to provide relief for around one-third of asthma suffers. Bronchodilator inhalers are used by the majority of asthma suffers and although effective in treating respiratory conditions there are still some gaps in understanding on how and why these inhalers work.

Launching the NHS Digital Academy

By Rachel Dunscombe, CEO, NHS Digital Academy

Standing in the Royal Society on the 16th of April waiting for the participants to arrive was both surreal and exciting. Surreal because of the rapid journey our wonderful team had taken to make the programme happen – this had become a reality so quickly. Exciting because I couldn’t wait to get started – this programme is important for the system and for me something I am hugely committed to.

The Digital Academy operational team, of which I am a part, are all keen to ensure that this programme is as grounded in digital leaders’ practice as much as possible rather than being too high end academic.

Malaria research: Scientist industry urged to not underestimate CRISPR’s risks

By IGHI guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ & Pharma Logistics IQ

Similar to new Hollywood feature Rampage, a recent study has urged the life sciences industry not to underestimate the dangers that could hide within CRISPR Cas9.

Although the film has been criticised for wildly exaggerating the capabilities of the gene editing technique, it can be recognised for its effort to draw focus from the excitable buzz around CRISPR Cas9 towards the importance of considering the ethics and dangers associated with the tool.

A recent commentary piece also emphasised the importance of methodically debating the potential outcomes of CRISPR within the task of tackling Malaria.

The power of our microbiota

by Lily Roberts, Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation

Did you know that not only does your gut do an incredible job of nourishing you by digesting your food, but that the composition of your resident gut bacteria also has a profound impact on your quality of life? While some of the specific mechanisms are still to this day unclear, a plethora of significant research is out there, with answers to our burning questions on how our gut bacteria can affect us.

On day one, the human body is exposed to a multitude of bacteria via the birthing canal.

We can, I can, this World Cancer Day

By Caitriona Tyndall, MSc. BSc, Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London.

The 4th of February is World Cancer Day. This is a day to remember and celebrate. Sadly cancer affects us all whether it’s personally or through our friends and family or work colleagues. In fact it’s estimated that 1 in 2 of us will be affected by cancer at some point in our lifetime. But in the face of this depressing statistic there is cause to celebrate. We can celebrate the people we know who have beaten cancer, celebrate the lives of those we have lost and celebrate the ground-breaking research being done by thousands of people across the UK and the world to help beat cancer sooner.

The IGHI Big Data Analytical Unit 2017 – year in review

By Joshua Symons, BDAU, Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation 

2017 has been a very busy year for the Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU). High level accomplishments in data security and researcher outreach have led the BDAU to become one of the most secure and recognised analytic platforms for healthcare data at Imperial.

In May of 2017, the BDAU Secure Environment (SE) became the first ISO 27001:2013 (figure 1) and NHS IG Toolkit 100% Level 3 (figure 2) certified research environment in Imperial College. Over the course of 2017, the BDAU SE was successful in completing a further 11 internal and external audits.

Pharmacists – the new guardians of breast cancer care?

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

In the fight against one of the world’s most widespread diseases, new research has found that pharmacists are key in the optimisation of medical treatment for breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that occurs in women. In 2012 there were 1.7 million new diagnoses ­– which equated to 12% of all new cancer cases. Less than one per cent of breast cancer develops in males.

Despite its prevalence, death rates from this form of cancer have been consistently declining over the past 25 years due to better awareness and advancing treatment options.

Discovering the medicines of tomorrow: Four lessons from failed Alzheimer’s research

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

Even though drug development for Alzheimer’s Disease has a steep failure rate, the lessons learned from failed trials are of great benefit to future research.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia – the irreversible loss of memory and other cognitive functions which eventually makes daily tasks unmanageable.

As the life expectancy of the world’s population grows, the Alzheimer’s is becoming more common. Estimates suggest that  the number of affected US patients will climb from 5.3 million to almost 14 million by 2050.

In the fight against this disease many have dedicated their careers to revolutionise how the neurodegenerative disease is diagnosed and handled.

Using the value-based approach to overcome challenges facing healthcare systems in the U.K and Rwanda

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Systems under pressure

Health systems around the world face the twin pressures of a rising demand for services, coupled with financial pressure on resources to deliver them. For publicly-funded universal health services in developed countries such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), new investment is at an all-time low. Funding for the NHS in England has seen a real-terms rise of 4.4% over 6 years, meaning that the average annual rise was just 0.7%

How health and voluntary sector services can work together collaboratively to improve health and wellbeing in later life

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student in the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

In today’s fast moving world, we need to constantly adapt to keep up. But what about those people in later life who might struggle to do so?

We live in a world where society is ageing. Falling mortality rates, particularly in the over 65-year age group coupled with low fertility rates in the younger population are leading to a society which is growing older[i].It is also true that conventional care delivery is often based around admittance to institutionalised hospital care which is both costly and can be inefficient as professionals, bound by silo working, fail to achieve either best value or best care for patients[ii].