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Improving treatment for systemic amyloidosis

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Whole body anterior amyloid scans of a patient with systemic amyloidosis, showing abundant amyloid in the liver before treatment and the almost complete absence of amyloid after a single dose of the new anti-SAP antibody.

A potential new approach to treat systemic amyloidosis, invented at UCL and being developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), marks the start of a successful and innovative academic-industry collaboration.

UCL to coordinate £16m project to crack difficult disease areas

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Scientist examines samples under a microscope

UCL has successfully coordinated a £16 million bid to work with the Medical Research Council (MRC), GSK and four other universities to improve scientists’ understanding of inflammatory and fibrotic diseases that present a serious burden to patients.

Landmark 69-year study to provide window into dementia

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Professor Nick Fox and Dr Jonathan Schott

A landmark study that has been following a group of people since their birth in the same week in March 1946 is now turning its focus to the risk factors and early signs of dementia.

Many overweight teenagers do not recognise they are too heavy

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Man on scales

More than a third of overweight or obese teenagers don’t see themselves as being too heavy and think their weight is about right, according to a UCL study published today in the International Journal of Obesity.

New treatment for polycystic kidney disease

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Small vessels inside a cystic kidney with disorganised vasculature

A new technique for treating polycystic kidney disease has been identified by researchers based at the UCL Institute of Child Health. Published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the treatment, which involves targeting tiny blood and lymphatic vessels inside the kidneys, is shown to improve renal function and slow progression of disease in mice.

Chemo before surgery benefits patients with advanced ovarian cancer

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Chemotherapy machine

Women with advanced ovarian cancer have fewer side effects and tend to have a better quality of life if given chemotherapy before surgery, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published in The Lancet.

Smoking induces early signs of cancer in cheek swabs

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Ashtray

DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs, finds research published today in JAMA Oncology. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren’t usually associated with it – including breast and gynaecological cancers.

New test could identify resistant tuberculosis faster in London

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) disease rates in some parts of London are as high as in Sub-Saharan Africa, and drug-resistant strains are becoming increasingly common. These require specific treatments, and if doctors know that a bug is resistant they can start therapy earlier, often leading to better outcomes.

New screening technique could pick up twice as many ovarian cancer cases

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Ovarian cancer under the microscope

A new screening method can detect twice as many women with ovarian cancer as conventional strategies, according to the latest results from the largest trial of its kind led by UCL.

Human immune system can control re-awakened HIV, suggesting ‘kick and kill’ cure is possible

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Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell

The human immune system can handle large bursts of HIV activity and so it should be possible to cure HIV with a ‘kick and kill’ strategy, finds new research led by UCL, University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Oxford and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

New role uncovered for ‘oldest’ tumour suppressor gene

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Professor Sibylle Mittnacht interviewed by Clare Hastings at The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Scientists have revealed a brand new function for one of the first cancer genes ever discovered – the retinoblastoma gene – in a finding that could open up exciting new approaches to treatment.

Weight discrimination has major impact on quality of life

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Man on scales

Weight discrimination is linked to significantly lower quality of life, and accounts for approximately 40% of the negative psychological effects associated with obesity, finds new UCL research funded by Cancer Research UK.

The first fine-scale genetic map of the British Isles

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The regions of ancient British, Irish and Saxon control in the 7th Century

Many people in the UK feel a strong sense of regional identity, and it now appears that there may be a scientific basis to this feeling, according to a landmark new study into the genetic makeup of the British Isles.

Cancer fear can impact screening uptake

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Colorectal cancer tumour

People who worry about cancer are more likely to want to get screened for colon cancer, but feeling uncomfortable at the thought of cancer makes them less likely to actually go for the test, finds new UCL-led research.

£14M to develop HIV self-testing in southern Africa

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Clinic

A partnership involving UCL has been awarded £14M to accelerate access to simple self-tests in African countries. Self-testing for HIV using rapid diagnostic kits is becoming increasingly widely used, allowing high-risk people to test their own HIV status in private.

Family history screening misses people at high risk of cancer

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Eve Appeal

UCL research into the BRCA gene mutation in the Jewish population show that only assessing family history misses half of the people with the mutation.

Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease

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Image showing how tetanus neurotoxin (red) binds to areas rich in nidogen-2 (green)

The way that tetanus neurotoxin enters nerve cells has been discovered by UCL scientists, who showed that this process can be blocked, offering a potential therapeutic intervention for tetanus. This newly-discovered pathway could be exploited to deliver therapies to the nervous system, opening up a whole new way to treat neurological disorders such as motor neuron disease and peripheral neuropathies.

UCL awarded £4.2 million for stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy

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Blood for transplant

UCL has been awarded £4.2 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to fund a Blood and Transplant Research Unit for stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy, due to launch in October 2015.

UCL awarded £13.5 million to advance medical research facilities

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UCL Quad

As part of the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative, UCL has been awarded £13.5 million for a number of projects to help advance clinical research.

Simplifying TB treatments to improve patients’ lives

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Ways to simplify treatments for tuberculosis (TB) to reduce drug resistance and make it easier for patients to complete their course of treatment have been trialled by two international groups involving UCL scientists.

People with diabetes are less able to regulate the body’s responses to stress

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Stress

People with type 2 diabetes are physically less able to recover from stress, finds a study by scientists at UCL and the University of Zurich, funded by the British Heart Foundation.

UCL research helps paralysed man to recover function

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Professor Geoff Raisman

A man who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack can now walk using a frame, following a pioneering cell transplantation treatment developed by scientists at UCL and applied by surgeons at Wroclaw University Hospital, Poland.

Gene variant that dramatically reduces ‘bad’ lipids

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DNA helix

Research using data collected from around 4,000 healthy people in the UK has enabled scientists from UCL, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Bristol  to identify a rare genetic variant that dramatically reduces levels of certain types of lipids in the blood.

Gene variant linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcoholism

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Depression

A rare gene variant discovered by UCL scientists is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcoholism, confirms new research.

Pre-diabetes label ‘unhelpful and unnecessary’

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Blood tests are used to check for type 2 diabetes

Labelling people with moderately high blood sugar as pre-diabetic is a drastically premature measure with no medical value and huge financial and social costs, say researchers from UCL and the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota.

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