David Cameron has launched a £300 million world-leading human genome project that will revolutionise advanced personalised medicine.
Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced plans to inject £300 million into ground-breaking genetic research that will help combat cancer and rare diseases.
The project will give scientists the opportunity to decode 100,000 human genomes through a four year project set out by the government.
Understanding a patient’s personal DNA code will help scientists understand how rare diseases function, transforming the future of healthcare with improved and personalised medicines.
“This agreement will see the UK lead the world in genetic research within years
PM David Cameron
As part of the project the Prime Minister has unveiled a new partnership between Genomics England and the company Illumina, with Illumina securing roughly £78 million to further genomic research.
Alongside this partnership, the Prime Minister also revealed plans to make the NHS the first mainstream health service in the world to offer genomic medicine as part of routine care.
“This agreement will see the UK lead the world in genetic research within years. I am determined to do all I can to support the health and scientific sector to unlock the power of DNA, turning an important scientific breakthrough into something that will help deliver better tests, better drugs and above all better care for patients,” Cameron said.
“As our plan becomes a reality, I believe we will be able to transform how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in the NHS and across the world, while supporting our best scientists and life science businesses to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology.”
Chief executive of NHS England Simon Steven welcomed the announcement, suggesting the NHS will now become the ’go-to’ health service for genomic tests and patient treatments.
“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,” Steven said.
It is expected that around 40,000 NHS patients could benefit directly from the research.
As part of the project, the Wellcome Trust is investing £27 million in a state-of-the-art genome-sequencing hub for Genomics England.
The investment will allow Genomics England to become part of the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge.
This will facilitate collaborations with world-class scientists and bioinformaticians, and with the life science industry - helping to meet the 100,000 Genomes Project’s aims of bringing the benefits of genomic medicine to NHS patients.
Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar said: “Understanding humanity’s genetic code is not only going to be fundamental to the medicine of the future. It is an essential part of medicine today. In rare congenital diseases, in cancer and in infections, genomic insights are already transforming diagnosis and treatment.”
The hub at Cambridge already plays host to some of the world’s foremost centres for genomics research.
The Sanger Institute, alongside the European Bioinformatics Institute, will provide life scientists and academics alike with freely available data and research support.