NHS to sequence DNA of 40,000 patients over next four years

Tens of thousands of NHS patients are to be invited to donate their DNA for research as part of a project that aims to make the use of genetic data routine in the health service.

About 40,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases will have their genomes sequenced during the four-year project, which David Cameron claims will transform how serious diseases are diagnosed and treated.

Cancer patients will have DNA from healthy and cancerous tissues read so that doctors can work out which mutations are driving the growth of their tumour cells.The information could help medical teams decide which drugs will be most effective in a patient, but will also identify groups for targeted trials of new therapies.

Beyond cancer, the 100,000 Genomes Project hopes to improve diagnoses of rare diseases caused by genetic mutations. Though rare individually, they take a huge collective toll on public health. More than 5,000 rare diseases, which affect more than 3 million people in the UK, have been identified.

Response from Essex Care Professionals

Last month, in response to concerns that had been raised by the public, Healthwatch Essex held a debate about the controversial new NHS data-sharing system.

The debate was lively and balanced and many members of the public came away saying they felt better informed. Several important issues were highlighted that NHS England needs to consider as it plans its roll-out later this year.

They have produced a short report and a short film which summarise the main points that were raised by the public and the main issues which concern them. The report also includes a list of recommendations for NHS England to consider, that have been put together based on the discussions that took place during the debate.

Watch the film produced by Healthwatch Essex

Read the report from Healthwatch Essex

Find out more about the 100,000 Genomes Project

News update