Hello. I am a doctor and scientific researcher specialising in genetics. I work at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, England. I have a particular interest in discovering genes that increase the chance of cancer occurring and using them to help patients and their families. You can read more about my work at Professor Nazneen Rahman.
These are exciting times. Reading the genome code has advanced at an extraordinary pace. What used to take years, now takes hours. In turn, this is providing opportunities to improve the health of the population in ways I did not dream would be possible during my career.
The promise of the genome is all it is hyped up to be. But realising that promise presents challenges of many different types: scientific, technical, logistical, financial, ethical and societal. As with all revolutionary changes there is also potential for negative impacts and it will be equally challenging to identify and circumvent these.
I, and my colleagues, have been thinking about these issues for the last few years. This blog aims to lay open some of the issues we are dealing with. We don’t have all the answers and there will be other opinions about the best way forward. That is to be expected and encouraged. But I hope these posts will be of interest and may stimulate discussions and engagement from experts, interested parties, patients and the public.
Hello. My name is Ann Strydom and I work at The Institute of Cancer Research, London as a Research Development Manager in the research team led by Nazneen Rahman. I have a rather mixed background of skills and experience – my working life started out in actuarial science, then a major shift to nursing and midwifery with a strong focus on developing innovative and effective maternal health services in South Africa and delivering workplace based HIV/AIDS treatment and care across Southern Africa. Although a long distance away from that now, I see my current work at ICR as an opportunity to integrate my varied skills to help deliver practical impact from the ground-breaking research done by the team at ICR.
Since my early working life, I’ve also been lucky enough to have been exposed to and had mentors who encouraged me to engage with the revolution in information technology that has taken place over the past 30+ years. My previous clinical work means that I fully appreciate how important human empathy, an individualised approach and confidentiality are to end users of health care services, but l also strongly believe that information technology can support and enhance the delivery of excellent care. I hope that by striving to use digital technology as effectively as possible to support the research being done at ICR, I can also help to promote the extension of innovation solutions to directly impact clinical care. I will be sharing some of my further thoughts about this and also the interesting work being done by the research team on this blog.