The people in England can now get their genes analyzed from National Health Services (NHS) as per the announcement made by the health secretary, Matthew Hancock.
The healthy people in England can get their DNA analyzed by the NHS after paying a specified amount. This is an attempt to uncover better medical treatments and to encourage advance understandings.
The participating people will be given the health reports. It will further help to predict the risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer's or cancer. This process will help in developing treatments for future benefits.
The services will be offered free to people with serious conditions. The announcement has been made after two months of reaching the aim of sequencing 100,000 genomes. Genomes project had completed after five years of its announcement.
The health secretary, Matthew Hancock said, “Genomics has the potential to transform healthcare. 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.”
Hancock further added, “Seriously ill children and adults with genetic conditions, including cancer, will be offered DNA analysis as part of their routine care.”
The chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine, Anneke Lucassen reported, “There is still a lot of misunderstanding of what whole-genome sequencing can deliver. There is a view that it will give you clear clinical predictions and, most of the time, it will not.”
The latest announcement is in furtherance of “The 100,000 Genome Project” that completed last year. The 100,000 genome project started in the year 2012 and it got its ultimate shape by the end of the year 2018. Participants of the genome project are the patients of NHS having a rare disease.
The aim of “The 100,000 Genome Project” was to develop the new genomic medicine service. It will be transforming the health care services for the people. This led to creating the potential for new and better treatments. This project created ways for effective medical research in the future.
Hancock also announced the “genomic volunteering” scheme which will benefit people. Participating people will get their DNA analyzed by the NHS scientists. This attempt will help to foresee the patient’s risk of developing various diseases.
The analyzed information will then be sent to the researchers for developing further treatments. The new project will be carried on by the Genomic England. It is a company set up and owned by the NHS.
These gene tests will cost up to hundreds of pounds to the Department of Health and Social Care. The officials were uncertain about the routine services of counseling to people to deal with the contents of the reports.
The ministers are looking forward to sequence 5 million (50 lakh) genomes over the next five years.
The new chairperson of Genomics England, Jonathan Symonds said that after sequencing of the 100,000 genomes last year, they are focusing on bringing the “genomics-based diagnostics in clinical care”. The 100,000 genomes project will be helpful to direct the new project.
Helen Stokes Lampard, the chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs raised the concern that the sensitive personal DNA data should be used responsibly. It creates ethical issues as well. It is also possible that the data for genetic testing can be uncertain.