Dr Jenny Taylor also gave a talk, explaining the Oxford GKP's focus on cardiovascular disease (including sudden cardiac death and coronary artery disease) and cancer, and the ways in which knowing more about nature, an individual's genes, can lead to treatments that centre on nurture, such as altering an individual's diet. Knowledge about an individual's genetic propensity for certain diseases could lead to pre-emptive non-genetic actions such as changing someone's diet or fitting a pacemaker, and the Oxford GKP programme will evaluate how far genetic testing would help in the diagnosis or treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Researchers will also examine the ethical, legal, social and economic implications of conducting such tests. Whilst identifying individuals at risk of, for example, sudden cardiac arrest could save many lives, the existence of that genetic information raises questions about insurance and job security which need to be carefully considered. The conclusions will allow them to make recommendations to Government about whether genetic tests for these conditions are clinically worthwhile, technically feasible, and acceptable to the general public.
For more information the Genetics Knowledge Park, go to the Oxford GKP website. oxfordgkp/