Healthy people in England will get the opportunity to pay to analyze DNA from the NHS in an attempt to understand and uncover new treatments, the Health Secretary said.
The service announcement, which will also be offered free of charge to people with serious illness, comes less than two months after NHS researchers said they had achieved their goal of ranking 100,000 genome targets for five years from the 100- 000 Genomes.
"Genomics has the potential to transform health care, and I am really proud of the UK's leading world," Health Secretary Matthew Hancock said on Friday. He added that "seriously ill children and adults with genetic diseases, including cancer, will be offered DNA analysis as part of their routine care" this year.
"And while healthy people do not have to use this service for free at the National Health Service, there are tremendous benefits in arranging as many genomes as possible – each sequenced genome moves us a step closer to unlocking life-saving treatments."
Hancock has announced the launch of a genomic volunteer scheme where people – both those who pay and those who receive it free – will be able to analyze DNA from NHS scientists in an attempt to predict the patient's risk of developing different conditions. In exchange, anonymous data should also be passed on to researchers to help them develop treatments.
The plans were met with some skepticism by those who suggested that the results were misinterpreted and highlighted the sensitivity of the data.
Anneke Lucassen, chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine, told the Times: "There are still a lot of misunderstandings about what the whole sequence of the genome can do. He thinks it will give you clear clinical predictions and you will not do it most of the time. "
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, also told the newspaper: "We are talking about very sensitive personal data that needs to be understood and used responsibly, and raises many ethical issues. Many things that will be captured by genetic tests will not be important or questionable. "
It has been reported that tests will cost hundreds of pounds. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said on Friday night that the exact price was still under consideration and, considering whether this test would create a two-tier public health system, officials said the scheme would be in line with the NHS founding principle free at the place of use.
It is not clear whether people who are taking advantage of the option will regularly be consulted to deal with the content of the reports they receive and whether the NSA is expected to cope with the extra workload at the current staff levels.
According to the Times, ministers hope to rank 5 million genomes over the next five years, which is a significant part of the customers they pay.
Recently, there has been significant progress in offering more personalized medical procedures based on genomic research. On Friday, Jonathan Simmonds, the upcoming chairman of Genomics England, who will help administer the new project, said the next phase of the body's work, following the sequence of 100,000 genomes, would focus on providing "genomic diagnosis in clinical aid ". ".
Last year it was announced that the NHS would become the first health service in the world to regularly offer genomic medicine. The new regime, which began in October 2018, gives priority to "precision medicine," which NHS England thinks takes into account more genetic differences among people, rather than "a universal approach to treatment and care for patients with a particular condition."