What you need to know about the NHS genome revolution

Steve Connor@SteveAConnor
Monday 22 December 2014 09:40
Science and Tech

What's going on?

The 100,000 Genomes Project is a £300million scheme to sequence the genetic codes of 75,000 people; NHS patients with cancer or rare genetic diseases and their close family members.

How will they do this?

NHS England has set up 11 genomic medicine centres at a cost of about £20million to recruit and test the first volunteers. Eventually, there will be more than 100 centres across England.

Where's the data going?

It is going to be stored in two databases, probably on computers located at the Sanger Institute campus in Cambridge.

What's the ultimate aim?

Scientists hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the genetic causes of disease. Drug companies hope to develop new diagnostic tests and, in the longer term, new drugs and treatments.

The NHS is better equipped for the emerging science that will determine the future practice of medicine than any other Western health care system.

  • Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England

Who's paying for it?

The government is paying for much of it, through the NHS and the Medical Research Council. The Wellcome Trust medical charity is investing about £27million in new gene-sequencing facilities on its Sanger Institute campus; and Illumina, a US sequencing company, is investing £162million in DNA technology in return for a payment of £78million from Genomics England.

Where will the 11 new centres be based?

All of them will be in England.

Read more about the project here

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