Your morning summary of digital health news, information and events to know about if you want to be “in the know”.   

👇 News  

⚕ An innovative test trialled by the NHS to help diagnose Barrett’s oesophagus, a condition that can lead to oesophageal cancer has reduced the need for invasive endoscopy in thousands of low-risk patients. The NHS pilot has tested over 8,500 patients with the capsule sponge test. Evaluation of a cohort of patients showed almost eight out of 10 patients, who completed a test were discharged without the need for further testing, freeing up endoscopy capacity for higher risk patients and those referred for urgent tests for oesophageal cancer. The test involves patients swallowing a small capsule-shaped device which contains a tiny sponge that collects cell samples for analysis before being extracted via a string attached to the sponge. 

🦴 Medical practitioners will be able to better recognise and diagnose more than 30 chronic conditions and life-threatening emergencies with the release of Limbs & Things’ most ambitious and complex product in its 30-year history. The CaRE (Cardiovascular & Respiratory Examination) trainer is an anatomically correct adult torso model designed to help medical trainees practice cardiovascular and respiratory examinations. It is the first medical simulator of its kind anywhere in the world to synchronise both heart and lung sounds and movement, with patent pending technology. The Bristol-based Limbs & Things team has spent four years and over 50,000 hours on the research and development of CaRE, combining various technologies in new ways to make CaRE as lifelike as possible. 

🧬 Scientists have developed a new screening tool to uncover how genetic changes affect gene activity and can lead to diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease. This new tool enables the investigation of thousands of DNA mutations identified by genetic studies in one experiment, guiding the development of advanced diagnostics and treatments. The technique, called scSNV-seq, enables researchers to rapidly assess the impact of thousands of genetic changes in cells that have never been screened before, directly connecting these changes to how those same cells operate. In the new study, published in Genome Biology, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators at Open Targets and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) applied scSNV-seq to the blood cancer gene, JAK1. The technique accurately assessed the impact of JAK1 mutations, revealing for the first time that certain mutations caused a “halfway house” phenotype cycling between different states. This is not possible under previous approaches. 

🧫 Solu, a Finnish health technology company helping hospitals and public health organizations prevent infections with genomics, introduces the fastest accessible online tool in the market for analyzing and preventing Candida auris outbreaks with genomics. Solu’s tool enables quick and easy genomic characterization of Candida auris, improving the classification and management of new outbreaks, and helping epidemiologists prevent further outbreaks. Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen posing a serious public health threat due to its fast spread, high transmissibility, and high mortality rate of up to 60%. It particularly threatens hospitalized individuals, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems. Solu is the pioneer in applying genome sequencing for the analysis and management of hospital-acquired infections. Solu’s platform simplifies the sequencing and analysis process, offering a fast, user-friendly tool for epidemiologists.  

🏠 GE HealthCare is tapping virtual care company Biofourmis to extend the reach of patient monitoring tech from hospitals into patients’ homes. Announced at the ViVE 2024 conference on Monday, the collaboration leverages the combined expertise of the two companies to scale and deliver innovative care-at-home solutions, GE HealthCare and Biofourmis executives said. 

❓ Did you know that 

Recent data has revealed that almost half (47%) of child patients in the UK weren’t seen by an NHS dentist between June 2022 and 2023. Patient Claim Line analysed data released by NHS England regarding dental statistics in the UK to determine how often children are attending dental appointments in the recommended 12-month period and what dental treatments those under 18 are most likely to receive compared to adults. 

📢 What we’re listening to  

Health Innovation West Midlands (HIWM), formerly known as the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN), is returning, Friday 23rd February, with a second season of its podcast, All Systems Ergo. Building on the success of season one, host Fran Ives, Chartered Human Factors Specialist, continues her deep dive into world of all things human factors to find out how adopting the latest processes and thinking can help key areas of healthcare. 

🚨 This week’s events 

1 March 2024, Westminster Health Forum – Next steps for respiratory health services in England