Tackling children and young people's health: How ICSs are taking action

National DNA research programme for children launches

The National Institute for Health and Care Research BioResource D-CYPHR project seeks to build the “DNA, Children and Young People’s Health Resource” with the aim of assisting in the development of new treatments and better services for children and young people.

The BioResource will enable the study of “thousands of DNA samples together with health information”, supporting scientists to “see the big picture of how our genes and our environment influence our health”. Research focus will be placed on the development of new treatments and how they can be individualised; the causes of illness; and how to identify illnesses early, avoid unnecessary medical tests, and help people to access treatment and support sooner.

Researchers from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals are working on the project alongside the University of Cambridge and mental health charity Anna Freud. The project builds on previous research which has “shown the power that understanding genetics can have on outcomes for a range of conditions and illnesses”.

The BioResource is open to children or young people aged 0-15, with parental consent. More information on how to join can be found here.

Dr Anna Moore, clinical lead for D-CYPHR, comments: “Today we are at the beginning of the most tremendous opportunity which will transform our understanding of genetics for children’s health. We’ve got a huge gap in our understanding of how diseases develop as children grow up, for both physical and mental health.”

This month, we’ve seen how genetics can play a role in predicting the risk of breast cancer for women of different ethnicities, and in predicting faster disease progression for MS patients.

In other news on young people’s health from Cambridge, we’ve covered the £2.1 million in funding secured by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust for a national study into young people’s mental health.