Genetic tests – Paternity, cancer and more

Genetic tests – Paternity, cancer and more

In line with Future Genetics commitment to perform innovative R&D to reduce health inequalities and help improve health outcomes for all, we have recently invested in multiple technologies including but not limited to the Next-Generation Sequencing (#NGS) hardware in the form of the @Thermofisher Ion #GeneStudio S5 and Ion Chef.

Genetic Testing

During 2022, we will be developing and bringing our range of EMPOWER® genetic and genomic tests to patients and consumers so they are truly empowered to lead more informed and healthier lives.

Paternity

We will be launching a range of relationship tests, including paternity tests.

 

Cancer

In addition, given the devastating impact of cancer on many families across the UK, we will be introducing cancer screening service programmes that can be accessed by anyone.

 

Unfortunately health inequalities related to breast cancer still exist in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/breast-screening-identifying-and-reducing-inequalities/breast-screening-identifying-inequalities).

 

Our focus on Breast Cancer is highlighted in a presentation given by our CEO in 2018, excerpt here (full video can be viewed by scrolling to bottom of our main page (https://futuregenetics.co.uk/):  

Please also visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/ and https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer/survival

 

Future Genetics will be focused on introducing genetic screening for breast cancer over the next 12 months that will be linked to a system of follow-up monitoring to support better health for our clients and patients.

Liquid-biopsies open opportunity for early cancer detection

With the introduction of “liquid-biopsy” cancer screens, Future Genetics may:

  1. find cancer at an early stage
  2. help plan personalised/ targeted cancer treatments given by the NHS
  3. monitor and check how well any particular cancer treatment is working
  4. Once clear, regularly monitor to check if the cancer has come back
  5. Help doctors build a picture through the tests we have run over time so the doctors may understand what kind of molecular changes are taking place, so they can potentially tailor the treatment

 

If you want to be part of our organisation visit https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities

 

#genetics #patients #cancer #health #genomics #internships #placements

https://youtu.be/WKdfZk18SXA

 

Disability Adjustments Passport – jobs and internships

Disability Adjustments Passport – promoting equal access to jobs and internships

Future Genetics has just taken part in a University of Wolverhampton organised Disability Adjustments Passport Focus Group comprising of academic organisations, government bodies along with public and private companies.

This was a good opportunity for us to contribute, share insights and build on our commitment to better support disabled employees and interns.

AGCAS (2021) report

A recent Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, AGCAS (2021) report* highlights that there are differences in securing permanent employment between disabled and non-disabled graduates. The gap between disabled and non-disabled postgraduate (taught) level is particularly evident with 66.9% of non-disabled graduates in full time employment compared to 56.4% of disabled graduates.

Adjustments Passport

The Adjustments Passport captures the student’s adjustments and support that they may have had whilst in education and any revised support they may need in the workplace.

Adjustment passports can be a useful tool to help disabled staff and employers work together to make the appropriate adjustments that allow for improved employment outcomes.

The passport’s aim is to empower the passport holder to have the confidence to have conversations with employers by:

  • providing a living document of the individual’s adjustments and in-work support needs
  • reducing the need to repeat information and assessments
  • supporting the holder to have confident conversations about their disability and adjustments
  • Raising awareness of Access to Work and the support it can provide.

https://www.agcas.org.uk/write/MediaUploads/Resources/Disability%20TG/AGCAS_What_Happens_Next_2021_-_February_2021.pdf

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities

 

Addressing Sex and Ethnic Minority Inequalities

Addressing Sex and Ethnic Minority Inequalities

During each day of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week 2022, #EQW2022, (https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/equality-diversity-and-human-rights-week-2022)  #FutureGenetics will highlight its commitment to empowering society by proactively addressing UK health inequalities that have persisted for decades (https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/health-people-ethnic-minority-groups-england).

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities

Day 2:

There has been a longstanding issue of under-representation of women in science. The UK statistics speak for themselves (https://www.stemwomen.com/blog/2021/01/women-in-stem-percentages-of-women-in-stem-statistics%C2%A0).

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunitiesEthnic Minorities

Data from the Royal Society show career progression STEM* statistics for UK ethnic minorities is abysmal (https://royalsociety.org/news/2021/03/stem-ethnicity-report/).

Lack of colour at the top

The reality is that we should have more women and ethnic minority representation, and particularly importantly in senior positions rather than the typically white male boardrooms that dominate many UK organisations (https://diversityq.com/small-listed-companies-dominated-by-white-men/ and https://www.ft.com/content/409ae838-1040-11e9-b2f2-f4c566a4fc5f), and with respect to the #NHS and #healthcare, where the ethnic minority Board representation “is just 11.1% across all NHS trusts and foundation trusts” (https://www.nhsconfed.org/publications/strengthening-nhs-board-diversity-report)  

Our Commitment to Women and Ethnic Minorities

Future Genetics has had a longstanding commitment to help address this disparity by providing equal opportunities for employment and internships to females and ethnic minority candidates. This mission has then evolved through engagement with a programme devised by the #University of Birmingham, #Newman University and #University College Birmingham (https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/employability/careers/transformation-wm/employers/reverse-mentoring.aspx) that led to the development and formalisation of our Diversity & Inclusion Recruitment Programme (https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities).

Many of our other posts show the diversity of our staff and interns both past and present. Several staff who have recently completed Future Genetics 6-month employment programmes via a government funded scheme have now moved onto some fantastic permanent employment, and we are confident that these young individuals will make their positive impression on society.

 *STEM, science, technology, engineering or maths

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/empower-equality-diversity

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/

Celebrating Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week – EMPOWER

Celebrating Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week

During each day of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week 2022, #EQW2022, (https://www.nhsemployers.org/articles/equality-diversity-and-human-rights-week-2022)  #FutureGenetics will highlight its commitment to empowering society by proactively addressing UK health inequalities that have persisted for decades (https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/health-people-ethnic-minority-groups-england).

Day 1:

The first post is on our EMPOWER-1 Multi-site Clinical Cohort Research Study (the largest study of its kind), which looks at Reducing UK Health Inequalities (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03987633).

 

The video clip is from Equality Diversity in Science Symposium (2019) that was held at the Francis Crick Institute (programme: https://edisgroup.org/events/edis-symposium-2019-inclusive-research-and-experimental-design/).

 

 

 

 

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/

7 Super Intern and Summer Placements

12-month Voluntary Undergraduate Internships and Summer Placements (starting Summer 2022).

#Sales and #Marketing Executive
#Social #Media Executive
#Graphics/#Animation Designer
> Research Scientist
#statistician and Analyst
> Clinical #Research Scientist
#Laboratory #Scientist (Genetics)

To apply please send your CV to info@futuregenetics.co.uk
https://lnkd.in/dfgqUew

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities 

* The voluntary unpaid 12-month internships are ONLY open for undergraduate students. As these placements are only open to undergraduate students, please forward a copy of your CV to info@futuregenetics.co.uk using your university email account. Applications for 12-month internships submitted via non-university email accounts cannot be processed.

** Summer placements (between June – October 2022). These v roles are open to any interested applicants. Please note this is a voluntary unpaid experience.
#placements #opportunities #students #internship #summerinternship #summerinternship2022  

Intern

Science reaches another genomic milestone

Science reaches another genomic milestone

The human genome was first sequenced in April 2003. Although it has been possible to reliably obtain 92% of the DNA sequence, the remaining 8% has alluded scientists up until now.

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities

With this “100%” genome sequence, we are able to map those last few missing pieces of the human genome jigsaw puzzle. This may allow us to understand the full range of human genetic variability and how that might be impacting on risk to different diseases and pharmacogenomics.

It was great to see the authors of this work (https://www.science.org/content/article/most-complete-human-genome-yet-reveals-previously-indecipherable-dna)  acknowledge that “the field now needs to get similarly complete genome sequences from a greater diversity of people… …which could play a role in diseases or traits“.

Future Genetics celebrates this mindset as it aligns to our focus on health and disease in different populations, pharmacogenomics and our longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

(https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03987633)

https://futuregenetics.co.uk/opportunities 

Health and Gender Inequalities UK 2022

During this battle with Covid-19, the healthcare sector has been at the forefront of the fight, pushed beyond the limit to help others. This article is based on a review, posted in March 2022 by the Women’s Budget group, which stated “calling for: a re-evaluation of feminised roles such as nursing and care work, and greater opportunities for training and career progression; tackling workforce shortages; a recognition of the increased discrimination faced by BAME and disabled staff; the prioritisation of the needs of a diverse range of groups”.

health and gender inequalities

It is widely known that health, social care and social work sectors form one of the largest employment sectors within the UK economy, employing approximately 4.4 million people in 2019. The workforce is also predominantly female: 78% of employees in these sectors are women which is a great statistic to see. However, these divisions are hierarchically structured by gender, and staff shortages have intensified long standing issues of excessive workloads with decreased benefits and outcomes.

The Autumn Budget in 2021 announced an increase of NHS core funding to £162.6 billion, a wide growth of 3.8%. Whilst this is a positive change it is still below the 4% (a 0.2% difference which equates to approximately £324m) that the Kings Fund estimated is needed to improve services, including short shortages. NHS hospitals, community providers and mental health services have conveyed a shortage of nearly 84,000 staff, including 38,000 nurses. As a result, recruitment from overseas have increased to prevent staff shortages. This may provide a short-term solution, but it should be further investigated to see why staff shortages increase each year alongside satisfactory among current healthcare workers.

In addition, this review has identified how BAME communities generally experience poorer health than the overall population, and health inequalities exist between different minority ethnic groups. This review has found women are more likely to use GP services than men. The GP consultation rate for women is 32% higher than that for men, partly due to reproductive-related consultations. Consequently, GP appointments and the number of GP practices have fallen consistently since 2015. The demand for healthcare is increasing whilst availability to help is decreasing – a possible concerning factor.

domino

As a result, further evaluation is needed to address the possible implications of how staff shortages may start a domino effect, leading to decreased appointments and availability for patients, especially in the ethnic minority community.

Written by Nisha Uddin (Future Genetics Research Scientist)

Ethnic Healthcare Inequalities UK

This healthcare inequalities article is based on a review completed by researchers at University of Manchester, Sheffield and Sussex. It was carried out on behalf of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, looking at research and literature published between 2011 to 2021.                                  

Major reviews and studies have identified various Black, Asian and minority ethnic group  inequalities within the NHS, experiencing racism and ‘widespread’ differences in treatment. By reviewing studies relating to accessibility and experience such as: maternal healthcare, mental health and neonatal care, genetic testing and more, the review found an excessive amount of healthcare inequalities in all areas reviewed.

Woman wearing hijabSouth Asian manOld man
woman nurseHijabi womanEast asian woman

Healthcare Inequalities:

Within this review about the NHS issues, researchers identified many of the problems above are ‘longstanding issues in the NHS’, further comments explaining these experiences root back to structural, institutional and interpersonal racism. The review stated:

“For many years, the health of ethnic minority people has been negatively impacted by:

  • Lack of appropriate treatment by the NHS
  • Poor quality or discriminatory treatment from healthcare staff
  • Lack of high-quality ethnic monitoring data recorded in NHS systems
  • Lack of appropriate interpreting services for people who do not speak English confidently and delays in, or avoidance of, seeking help for health problems due to fear of racist treatment from NHS healthcare professionals.”

From the problems recognised in this review, researchers believed it is crucial to increase the trust of ethnic minorities in healthcare services to improve the rate of successful outcomes.

crossed out healthcare

Barriers to seek help:

Mental Health may be a sensitive topic to some but it is one that should be addressed more frequently. The negative stigma attached to mental health disorders can be a reason behind people avoiding to seek help.

Reviews have highlighted how minority ethnic groups have experienced problems accessing services such as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), explaining these groups are less likely to refer themselves BUT also less likely to be referred by their GP.

In addition, the review noted how vital it is to record patient’s ethnicity accurately to ensure fewer missing data. This allows research studies to have accurate scales of the problem that can be addressed, including those in ethnic minority groups.

Impact on Careers:

This review has not only found problems regarding patients, it has recognised difficulties found in the work force of the NHS. Studies have presented how racism has interfered with ethnic minority staff members in terms of their career progression. Pay gaps are another issue addressed in this review, affecting ethnic minority groups in most staff sectors.

Findings from the BMA’s Racism in Medicine survey, published in 2022, showed 75.6% of NHS doctors have experience a form of racism at least once in the last two years – 17.4% experience racist incidents more regularly.

pie chart inequalities

There are a number of areas that can be improved in the NHS, a few recommendations mentioned in the review such as:

  • Ensuring patients’ ethnicity are recorded precisely via self-reported ethnicity in all interactions with NHS staff.
  • Investing in interpreter services: available for in person, telephone and digital appointments.
  • Build trust with ethnic minority groups and the community
  • Invest in research to understand the impact of racism on healthcare as well specific health problems in ethnic minorities.

This review and studies have shown all these issues are yet to be tackled and improved. The evidence presents unacceptable numbers of inequalities.

The time to implement action on ethnic minority inequalities is now.

(Written by Nisha Uddin, Future Genetics Research Scientist)

Science World

On 10th October 2019, I and another member of our clinical research team, Charlotte Jones, visited Science World in Leicester, run by ThermoFisher.

It was a day where members of the scientific community from around the West Midlands descended on to the Leicester Tigers Rugby Ground to learn about the various scientific suppliers that exist and the products they produce.

It was a great chance for myself and Charlotte to discover the wide array of products currently on the market and the specialities of each of the companies present, which will then be of use when looking at laboratory supplies and equipment in the future, as well as aiding our general understanding of how a laboratory functions. 

But the day wasn’t all too serious. There was the opportunity to view Prof Hal’s Bigger Bang, a show produced by Prof Professor Hal Sosabowski of University of Brighton, which travels the UK to show the fun and entertaining side of science. Alongside this was the Boiler Boys who were using liquid nitrogen to produce instant Ice Cream and Dragon Breath Meringues.

The day was perfectly topped off by the final key note speaker, Dr Hannah Critchlow, named one of the Top 100 UK Scientists by the Science Council. Her talk was based on how a revolution of technologies is helping us to unravel and understand the mind. It was a highly captivating talk discussing how consciousness is generated and how much free will we actually have. This was alongside demos into how we can bypass the brain signals to cause body movement, and what benefits or implications this may have in the future.

Yiran Ai-Feminist Films

 

 

 

 

Yiran Ai’s Research into Feminist Films

On the 19th of June chief operating officer or COO, Rukhsana Malik and CEO and medical director Dr Mohmmed Kamran attended the University of Birmingham’s 13th annual research poster conference, which is considered by the university as one of their flagship events. It was a brilliant event and the talent of the researchers was evident, the graduate school did a brilliant job and we were grateful to be invited. The event hosted over 100 research abstracts that summarised research activities carried out by the doctoral candidates across multiple disciplines ranging from arts, and law, environmental, dental, physical, and life sciences. One of these candidates was Yiran Ai.

Yiran Ai is a doctoral candidate at the University of Birmingham. Her research

Rukshana Malik and Yiran Ai next to Yiran’s Reasearch Poster

is based on gender perspectives in feminist films with Western directors and those in Hong Kong exploring the interpretations of feminism in the two cultures. The Western feminist films Yiran is studying include The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) and About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999), she is also studying Summer Snow (Ann Hui, 1995) and Centre Stage (Stanley Kwan, 1991), which are by directors from Hong Kong. The focus of the study is gender identity as well as relationships between males and females.

One thing that stood out in Yiran’s research was the fact that a feminist film in no way equates to women’s cinema, they don’t have to be about women’s issues, they shouldn’t just be aimed at women, rather it should be about destroying the image that there are limitations to gender roles. Gender shouldn’t be a defining characteristic that prevents character development. Yiran was also keen to point out that directors of

Dr Mohammed Kamran and Yiran Ai next to Yiran’s research poster

feminist films didn’t have to be female, the films she is studying are directed by men and women. The feminist aspect is far more about female character development from passive to “active, aggressive and independent”.

Yiran poses that diversity and equality are vital, feminist films should show intersectionality and question not only gender roles but prejudices in ethnicity and race.

The connection between a feminist film expert and a company working in clinical research may seem tenuous but we were so enthused by Yiran’s passion in her plea for social equality and we couldn’t help but hear the echoes of her work throughout our own. Future Genetics has always been about empowering people to take part in clinical trials to improve health equality and outcomes for themselves. It is equally important for us, at Future Genetics, to see equality improve in every aspect of our lives.

Healthcare and social injustice have often gone hand in hand. The 1980s saw one of the most frightening epidemics in recent history, AIDs spread quickly throughout gay communities across Europe and America with no immediately apparent cause. This led to a campaign of fear and isolation by homophobic groups leading to sufferers being refused treatment and research being delayed and ultimately resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Gender and racial inequality can themselves take their toll on an individuals mental and physical health. Ethnic minorities are three times more likely to be refused entry to a bar, restaurant or club and women are far less likely to progress to Executive roles within their companies, only 7% of FTSE 100 companies are run by women. Social and professional isolation can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety which themselves are as much a risk factor for mortality as high blood pressure obesity and smoking.

Yiran’s work could have massive implications on these issues, if we see an increase in equality within the media, if we see a rise in the production of feminist films we can change the narrative and see our society reach a position where women and minorities can reach positions of power and the situation you are born, work and live in will no longer pose a risk to one’s health.

Inequality is rife but so is empowerment, we are moving towards a society of acceptance and equality for all, we are starting to check our privilege and use that to further each other’s causes. The world has come on in leaps and bounds even in the past 30 years and the work that Yiran is doing will have implications, not only on producers in Hollywood but on minority groups and women working in all sectors, the true equality that Yiran looks for will be vital in the coming years to create an interesting and prosperous society.

Alice Stuart-Brown