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Genomics – the new gold rush?

July 10, 2017

There is an interesting article in the business section of the Sunday Telegraph of 9 July 2017 ‘Welcome to the genomic era and its new gold rush’. The thrust is absolutely in line with the CUP Foundation’s wish list!
Last week Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, challenged the NHS and biotech companies to make genome sequencing standard within 5 years for patients. Genome mapping will help doctors diagnose disease (by looking at DNA mutations) and help drug companies develop personalised treatments: genetically targeted cancer treatments.
Sunday’s article mentions the work being done in this field by small biotech companies in the UK as well as the 1000K Genomes Project. As CUP patients who have sought gene expression profiles of their tumours will have experienced, there are delays because the sequencing is done in the USA.  Dame Sally Davies calls for ‘a string of large regional DNA labs’ in the UK.
The article recognises that the NHS is slow to adopt this technology and UK regulators are considerably slower than their US cousins in approving new drugs supported by compelling genomics data. The article points also to the problems experienced in this country of data leaking from the NHS to commercial companies.

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