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Genome project moves to 5m target

Thursday December 6th, 2018

A major UK genetics project has reached its main objective – sequencing 100,000 genomes of NHS patients, it has been announced.

The British government wants to go on to sequence some five million genomes, a project that will underpin plans to develop AI-based diagnosis.

It says this can be achieved within five years. It has taken six years to achieve the first 100,000.

The government says the UK is the first country in the world to undertake this scale of whole genome sequencing.

A new NHS Genomic Medicine Service, to be launched next year, will ensure whole genome sequencing for seriously ill patients with rare diseases and cancers, it was announced.

NHS England chief scientific officer Professor Dame Sue Hill said: “The results, which will continue to be returned to patients, show how genomic medicine can transform lives, bringing quicker and better diagnoses and increasing the number of patients surviving cancer, and the opportunity now is for the NHS to turn this research into reality by introducing sequencing technology as part of our world-leading NHS Genomic Medicine Service.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Understanding the human code on such a scale is part of our mission to provide truly personalised care to help patients live longer, healthier and happier lives.

“I’m incredibly excited about the potential of this type of technology to unlock the next generation of treatments, diagnose diseases earlier, save lives and enable patients to take greater control of their own health.”

Tags: Cancer | Genetics | UK News

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