A cash injection of more than £300m by the Government is set to make the UK a world leader in ground-breaking research into cancer and rare diseases.
The four year project will allow scientists to do pioneering new research to decode 100,000 human genomes – a patient’s personal DNA code. The landmark project is on a scale not seen anywhere else in the world and is part of the Prime Minister’s commitment to ensure the NHS as well as the UK’s research and life science sector is at the forefront of global advances in modern medicine.
Sequencing the genome of a person with cancer or someone with a rare disease will help scientists and doctors understand how disease works. The project has the potential to transform the future of health care, with new and better tests, drugs and treatment. It is expected to provide a lifeline to thousands of families affected by rare genetic diseases and cancers.
The Prime Minister has pledged that the UK will map 100,000 human genomes by 2017.
University scientists and a drug companies will be allowed to access the data for their research. They argue that understanding DNA will soon play a role in every aspect of medicine from cancer to cardiology.
Simon Stevens, NHS England’s Chief Executive said:“The NHS is now set to become one of the world’s ‘go-to’ health services for the development of innovative genomic tests and patient treatments, building on our long track record as the nation that brought humanity antibiotics, vaccines, modern nursing, hip replacements, IVF, CT scanners, and breakthrough discoveries from the circulation of blood to the existence of DNA.
“The NHS’ comparative advantage in unlocking patient benefits from the new genomic revolution stems from our unique combination of a large and diverse population, with universal access to care, multi-year data that spans care settings, world-class medicine and science, and an NHS funding system that enables upstream investment in prevention and new ways of working, as demonstrated by this ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project.”