- New ‘Genome UK’ strategy launched to cement the UK’s status as a global leader in genomics
- Strategy will harness genomics to offer patients personalised treatments, predict the risk of chronic diseases for vulnerable groups and enable earlier interventions
- Announcement comes as Matt Hancock takes part in UK-wide COVID-19 genome sequencing study
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has today heralded the launch of a landmark new strategy that will secure the UK’s future position as a global leader in genomics.
The new National Genomic Healthcare Strategy – Genome UK: the future of healthcare – will ensure the UK can offer patients the best possible predictive, preventative and personalised care by harnessing the potential of advanced genome sequencing.
The strategy sets out how the UK genomics community – from researchers through to the NHS – will come together to harness the latest advances in genetic and genomic science, research and technology for the benefit of patients, to create the most advanced genomic healthcare system in the world.
It will drive improvements in healthcare for patients, reducing boundaries between clinical care and research, and continue to deliver innovative new research projects in the UK. The strategy will unite the genomics community behind a shared vision for the future of the system.
The strategy focuses on 3 key areas:
Diagnosis and personalised medicine – using genomic technologies to identify the genetic causes of rare diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer and provide personalised treatments to illness. The NHS will embed the latest genomic technologies to benefit patients.
Prevention – genomics will be used to accurately predict the risk of chronic diseases. Subject to validation, national screening programmes could use genomics to identify at-risk populations, including more vulnerable populations and those in harder to reach groups to allow earlier clinical and lifestyle interventions.
Research – we will enable more efficient and improved collaboration between researchers and clinicians to benefit patients, while upholding the highest standards on the use of data. This includes ensuring that research findings are translated into healthcare settings to benefit patients.
The new strategy builds on the government’s existing ambition to analyse five million genomes in the UK by 2023/24, including sequencing 500,000 whole genomes through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, and 500,000 whole genomes through the UK Biobank.
Health and Social Secretary Matt Hancock:
About the National Genomic Healthcare Strategy – Genome UK: The future of healthcare
The National Genomic Healthcare Strategy was commissioned by the National Genomics Board (NGB).
The study is led by Dr Kenneth Baillie at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. Across the UK, the set-up of GenOMICC has been funded by a UK charity, Sepsis Research (FEAT), by the Intensive Care Society, and by the Wellcome Trust, UKRI(MRC) and the Chief Scientist Office.
Within the UK, GenOMICC is currently actively recruiting in 208 intensive care units, covering more than three-quarters of the ICU capacity of the nation. Together with our international partners, we aim to provide genetic evidence to help find new treatments for critically-ill patients.Genetics gives us an extremely powerful tool to help us find new approaches to complex disease processes, but getting solid answers requires us to study very large numbers of people. Ultimately, the global GenOMICC consortium aims to obtain 100,000 DNA samples from critically-ill patients. This could have important implications for both the COVID-19 outbreak, and for critical illness in general.