Page URL:

David Cameron announces cancer genome sequencing collaboration

7 October 2013
Appeared in BioNews 725

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced a new partnership between Genomics England and Cancer Research UK as part of a Government bid to make the UK the first country in the world to sequence 100,000 genomes within five years.

The collaboration aims to sequence the whole genomes of 3,000 cancer patients and also the genomes of their tumours. The outcome of this effort may help determine which cancer treatments will be effective for individual cancer patients and may also help develop new cancer treatments that target specific genetic features of different cancers.

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: 'This rapidly-changing research field lays the foundations for even faster progress, saving many more lives from this devastating disease'.

The UK Foundation for Genomics and Population Health said in a statement: 'Britain has a potential strategic advantage in the development and delivery of genomic medicine in the form of the single public nationalised health service system, and the 100,000 Genomes Project has been seen by many as a crucial first step towards this'.

Mr Cameron announced this new partnership in tandem with a £400 million investment in the Cancer Drugs Fund. The Fund gives cancer patients in England access to treatments that are not available on the NHS. The extra money will support the Fund until March 2016 and will benefit new patients, as well as guaranteeing continued treatment for patients already receiving drugs.

Mr Cameron said these two initiatives will provide life-saving treatment to thousands more people: 'When I became Prime Minister three years ago many patients with rare cancers were being denied life-saving treatments. That is why we created the Cancer Drugs Fund, it is why we are extending it, and it is why we are partnering with Cancer Research UK to conduct new research into the effectiveness of cancer drugs'.

Current investment in the Cancer Drugs Fund now stands at £1.05 billion, but the additional support is controversial. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which decides which drugs can be prescribed on the NHS, has rejected many of the treatments now available through the Cancer Drugs Fund on the basis of very high cost.

Cash injection to keep cancer drugs fund running for two more years
The Guardian |  28 September 2013
Government announces extension of Cancer Drugs Fund
Cancer Research UK (press release) |  28 September 2013
UK Cancer Body, Genomics England Partner on Patient, Tumor Sequencing Effort
GenomeWeb (subscription) |  4 October 2013
10 November 2014 - by Dr Simon Woods 
The 100,000 Genomes Project is raising some thorny ethical issues: what kind of feedback should research participants receive, and how?...
20 October 2014 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
The Progress Educational Trust's event on the 100,000 Genomes Project gave the general public an opportunity to ask a panel of experts about the ethics of the project, the security of the data and its long-term sustainability...
4 August 2014 - by Siobhan Chan 
The UK Government has announced it will provide £300 million funding for a project to sequence 100,000 genomes, saying that it will 'revolutionise [the] fight against cancer and rare diseases'...
24 March 2014 - by Chris Baldacci 
IBM and the New York Genome Centre have teamed up to announce the latest weapon in the fight against cancer - Watson the supercomputer....
13 January 2014 - by Daryl Ramai 
The New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has announced a US$105 million partnership between the New York Genome Center (NYGC) and the University of Buffalo (UB) to accelerate genomic research in the region....
29 April 2013 - by Ruth Retassie 
The University of Glasgow will receive £20 million to develop a research centre dedicated to personalised medicine...
10 December 2012 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The UK Government has announced plans that will allow 100,000 NHS patients to have their whole genome sequenced over the next three to five years, as part of a move to boost economic growth in the life sciences industry...
13 August 2012 - by Matthew Young 
The anti-doping laboratories built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be developed into the world's first Phenome Research Centre; the term 'phenome' referring to the overall expression of a person's characteristics and traits as determined by the interaction of genetics and environment...
2 April 2012 - by Cait McDonagh 
The world's largest database of medical information has opened online, allowing researchers around the world to access its contents. The UK Biobank holds anonymous information from more than 500,000 British people, making it a 'globally unique resource' according to England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.