This week at the Progress Educational Trust (19 March 2015)
This week, PET exhibited at the Annual Conference of the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). One of the key topics of discussion was the HFEA's plans to publish patient feedback on fertility clinics, a topic which will also be the focus of PET's next free-to-attend public event - 'A TripAdvisor for Fertility Clinics - Would You Recommend It?' - taking place at London's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on the evening of Wednesday 29 April.
This PET event, sponsored by the British Fertility Society (BFS), will see experts debate the pros and cons of patient feedback after the HFEA's initial proposals have drawn comparison with the travel website TripAdvisor. The speaker panel will consist of Juliet Tizzard (of the HFEA), Professor Sir Muir Gray (founder of the NHS Choices website), Susan Seenan (of Infertility Network UK), Antonia Foster (of the law firm Carter-Ruck) and Professor Adam Balen (of the BFS).
Click here to find out more about the event, and email to book your free place.
As well as exhibiting at the HFEA conference, PET Director Sarah Norcross and Communications Officer Sandy Starr also manned PET's exhibition stand at 'Vaccines and Infectious Diseases' - public engagement dayorganised by the British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, held in the University of Oxford's beautiful Museum of Natural History. The event saw many school pupils come to PET's exhibition stand, to find out about the charity's work and put their knowledge of genetics to the test by taking a 'Gene-ius Quiz'.
The subject that elicited most interest at PET's stand - from pupils, teachers and museum visitors alike - was the charity's role in Parliament's recent decision to change the law to permit mitochondrial donation. One museum visitor, a member of the Humans of Oxford team, took photos of Sarah and Sandy which were then published online with accompanying commentary about this Parliamentary work.
PET has also been discussing mitochondrial donation on the German TV programme Mittagsmagazin, which came to the the PET office to film an interview with Sarah about Parliament's decision - you can watch the item here. (This wasn't the first such visit to the PET office by a TV crew from overseas - previously, Sarah was interviewed about mitochondrial donation by the Brazilian TV programme Fala Brasil, and you can watch that item here.)
The other main focus of PET's current work is the 100,000 Genomes Project. PET has launched an online poll about this project, in collaboration with Genomics England - the company established by the UK Government to sequence 100,000 whole genomes by 2017. PET and Genomics England would like to know what you think about whole genome sequencing.
The poll could not be more timely, as three participants in the 100,000 Genomes Project have just been diagnosed with rare diseases, the first such diagnoses to result from the project. Meanwhile, the world's largest community-based genetics study - East London Genes and Health - is now investigating the genes and health of 100,000 members of East London's South Asian population, an initiative launched with a press conference which Sandy attended at the Science Media Centre.
The PET/Genomics England poll takes only a minute or two to complete. Whether you're someone who already has views on genomic sequencing and health data, or whether this area is completely new to you, please click here now to have your say.