Alice Chapman-Hatchett: The future of health research in Europe—three visions for 2029

In May the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) travelled to London to discuss what the world of health research will look like 10 years from now. The event showcased a recently published report Research Futures, which looked at how research will be created and exchanged in a decade’s time, and started setting the scene for the main theme of this year’s Gastein Forum: disruptive change.

The report details three potential scenarios for health research in 2029. We have a brave open world, where state funders and philanthropic organisations have joined forces to collaborate and publish research via open access platforms, harnessing advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and technology to produce a joined-up approach. Next is tech titans, where industry and philanthropic foundations are the principal research funders, machine learning and AI advances are leading to a substantial proportion of research being carried out by machines, and few global shared solutions are emerging. The third scenario, eastern ascendance, envisions a future in which the volume of China’s public investment in research and development has made the East a magnet for international researchers. In this world, nations are working in isolation and international alignment on tackling global societal problems is proving difficult.

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Towards a digital health roadmap for the WHO European Region

The benefits of digital health are clear. It can improve the reach, impact and efficiency of health care. It can help improve the training of the health workforce, strengthen public health surveillance, and provide health services to remote and underserved populations. Digital health can also empower patients to take control of their health, and aid in the transition from reactive treatment to proactive prevention of diseases. However, barriers remain to adopting digital tools.

More than 300 decision-makers, policy experts and researchers from 50 countries gathered at the WHO symposium on the Future of Digital Health Systems in Denmark to discuss the way forward.

Source: WHO/Europe | Health systems – Towards a digital health roadmap for the WHO European Region

International Day of Happiness: UK ‘becoming more cheerful’

Britons are among the happiest people in the world – and are becoming more cheerful, according to an annual United Nations survey.

The seventh annual World Happiness Report placed the UK 15th in the 156-country ranking, just ahead of Ireland.

The list, based on research conducted between 2016 and 2018, is published on International Day of Happiness.

Finland, Denmark and Norway were the happiest nations while South Sudan replaced Burundi as the least happy.

International Day of Happiness began in 2012 when all countries of the United Nations agreed to create an official, annual fixture on the calendar.

The list is published by the London-based Action for Happiness charity and sees survey respondents place the status of their lives on a scale ranging from 0 to 10.

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Treating ovarian cancer may be achieved with a new class of drugs

According to Manchester University, UK, a new class of drugs, called PARG inhibitors, have the ability of treating ovarian cancer and even stopping cancer cells from growing.

Published in the Journal Cancer Cell, a study funded by the Cancer Research UK and Wellcome Trust showed that treating ovarian cancer may come sooner than you think. According to the researchers at The University of Manchester the drugs, PARG inhibitors, can kill ovarian cancer cells by targeting weaknesses within their ability to copy their DNA.

The first-in-class PARG inhibitor PDD00017273, was discovered in the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, part of The University of Manchester, as part of a targeted program to discover PARG inhibitors for the clinic.

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This program is currently being progressed through a collaboration with IDEAYA Biosciences, Inc., an oncology-focused biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery of breakthrough synthetic lethality medicines and immuno-oncology therapies.