Genetic testing to be provided by the NHS in exchange for genomic data

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is going to start providing genetic tests in exchange for patients in England who agree to share their genomic data so that it can be used for research.

DNA sequencingHenrik Dolle | Shutterstock

The sequencing of each person’s genome, which will cost a few hundred pounds, will provide individuals with a health report that will reveal their risk of developing illnesses such as cancer or Alzheimer’s.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock believes the tests will help researchers develop treatments that will benefit everyone in the future and flag up patients who require further investigation.

From this year, seriously ill children and adults with genetic conditions, including cancer, will be offered DNA analysis as part of their routine care. While healthy people should not have this service free on the NHS, there are huge benefits to sequencing as many genomes as we can. Every genome sequenced moves us a step closer to unlocking life-saving treatments.”

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

The project, which will be led by a company called Genomic England, is still in the development phase and no specifics have yet been provided regarding a launch date or exact cost.

The initiative follows the successful completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project in December 2018, which saw a total of 100,000 genomes sequenced and four participants with rare diseases diagnosed for the first time.

Chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine, Anneke Lucassen, has raised concerns about the plans saying there is a misunderstanding about what whole genome sequencing can really deliver: "You can use genetic code to confirm a clinical picture, but you can't use it to predict what will happen in the future very accurately."

It is also unclear how patients will be managed should they happen to find out that they are at high risk of developing a serious illness.

However, Lucassen is also positive about the initiative, saying the government otherwise has sensible plans regarding genetic medicine and praising its commitment to collecting genetic data.

Sources

NHS to offer paid-for DNA tests if patients share dat

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally has a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences (B.Sc.). She is a specialist in reviewing and summarising the latest findings across all areas of medicine covered in major, high-impact, world-leading international medical journals, international press conferences and bulletins from governmental agencies and regulatory bodies. At News-Medical, Sally generates daily news features, life science articles and interview coverage.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, January 28). Genetic testing to be provided by the NHS in exchange for genomic data. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 05, 2020 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190128/Genetic-testing-to-be-provided-by-the-NHS-in-exchange-for-genomic-data.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Genetic testing to be provided by the NHS in exchange for genomic data". News-Medical. 05 July 2020. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190128/Genetic-testing-to-be-provided-by-the-NHS-in-exchange-for-genomic-data.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Genetic testing to be provided by the NHS in exchange for genomic data". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190128/Genetic-testing-to-be-provided-by-the-NHS-in-exchange-for-genomic-data.aspx. (accessed July 05, 2020).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Genetic testing to be provided by the NHS in exchange for genomic data. News-Medical, viewed 05 July 2020, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190128/Genetic-testing-to-be-provided-by-the-NHS-in-exchange-for-genomic-data.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.