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Push for Predictive Genetic Tests

Matt Hancock, the UK health secretary, is calling for the swift rollout of predictive genetic tests by the National Health Service, the Guardian reports.

It adds that while speaking at the Royal Society, Hancock noted that he had taken a commercial genetic test that found him to be at increased risk for developing prostate cancer, a finding that stunned him. The test, according to the Telegraph, revealed Hancock to have a 15 percent chance of developing prostate cancer by the age of 75, which it says is about 1.5 times the risk of an average man.

Testing, Hancock says, may have saved his life. "We must get predictive testing into the NHS as soon as we possibly can," he says, according to the Guardian. "I see it as a game-changer for cancer screening in the NHS and I'm determined that we harness this technology to save lives."

But at the Guardian, University College London's David Curtis notes that most of the tests have relied on data from individuals of European ancestry and aren't as accurate for people of other ethnic backgrounds, and he argues that tests cannot be available for one part of the population.

Curtis adds that it also seems that Hancock misinterpreted his results and has a fairly average risk of developing prostate cancer.

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.