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UK Government launches plan for genomic healthcare system

5 October 2020
Appeared in BioNews 1066

The UK Government has launched a new strategy to establish the most advanced genomic healthcare system in the world in a bid to secure the UK as a global leader in genomics.

The new National Genomic Healthcare Strategy, Genome UK: the future of healthcare, aims to harness advanced genome sequencing to offer patients personalised treatments, predict the risk of chronic diseases for vulnerable groups and enable earlier interventions.

'Genomics has the potential to transform the future of healthcare by offering patients the very best predictive, preventative and personalised care. The UK is already recognised around the world as a global leader in genomics and this strategy will allow us to go further and faster to help patients right here in our NHS and give them the best possible chance against a range of diseases,' said health minister Matt Hancock.

The strategy outlines how the UK genomics community, from researchers through to the NHS, can collaborate to use the latest advances in genetic and genomic science, research and technology to establish an advanced genomic healthcare system for the benefit of patients and the UK technology sector.

Specifically, the strategy focuses on three key areas: 

  1. Diagnosis and personalised medicine: Incorporating the latest genomic advances into routine healthcare to improve the diagnosis, stratification and treatment of illness.

  2. Prevention: Enabling predictive and preventative care to improve public health and wellness.

  3. Research: Supporting fundamental and translational research and ensuring a seamless interface between research and healthcare delivery.

'This is an important moment for genomic healthcare in Britain. With the launch of Genome UK, we are a step closer to a future where genomics can improve everyone's health and wellbeing, based on the latest scientific discoveries,' said Chris Wigley, CEO of Genomics England.

Hancock also called on those who have recovered from COVID-19 to join him in donating blood as part of the previously announced Genetics of Mortality in Critical Care (GenOMICC) consortium study (see BioNews 1047) which aims to sequence and compare the genomes of 20,000 people who were severely ill and in intensive care with the virus to those with a further 15,000 participants who had symptoms but did not require hospital care.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Genome UK: a new national genomics healthcare strategy
University of Cambridge |  26 September 2020
Genome UK: the future of healthcare
HM Government |  26 September 2020
Government launches landmark genomic strategy
ITV |  26 September 2020
Landmark strategy launched to cement UK's position as global leader in genomics
Department of Health and Social Care |  26 September 2020
Matt Hancock announces new national genomic healthcare strategy
National Health Executive |  28 September 2020
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