Another £250m pledged for national genetic research project

8th March 2016

The government has pledged to spend another £250 million on a national project to find out more about genetic diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, and cancer.

The 100,000 Genomes Project will map all the genes of around 70,000 patients and their  family members to learn more about the gene mutations that cause these disease and encourage research into new treatments.

The project was launched over three years ago with funding of over £300m.   The extra money is designed to fund the project until 2021 and enable genomic medicine to become fully integrated in the NHS, says Genomics England,  which is running the project.

It is hoped that more understanding of our DNA will help doctors predict and prevent disease.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said:  “Genomics is the future of medicine. Over £500m has been invested in genomics to ensure that NHS patients continue to benefit from the prospect of better diagnosis and treatments."

Patients are being recruited through 13 genomic medicine centres across the country.  Over 6,500 patient genomes have already been sequenced.

The project has already delivered its first successes, with children at Great Ormond Street Hospital recently receiving life-changing diagnoses, says Genomics England.

It added: “We know that this news will give hope to the thousands of other families affected by rare conditions that took part in the early stages of the project. We expect results, like these ones, to start to be returned on a consistently larger scale from this summer. For people who joined the project more recently, results will come later in 2016. By the end of the project we hope to be able to process urgent cases in weeks.

“To help us interpret and analyse the genomic data, we have set up clinical interpretation partnerships with several companies. They will provide automated analysis of genomic data.”