NHS DNA project ‘to fight cancer and genetic diseases’
James Petter, SVP and Country Manager, UK and Ireland, EMC, considers today’s genetics announcement:
“In the news today, details have been released about a new genetics project aiming to revolutionise medicine by unlocking the secrets about diseases in centres across England. NHS England medical director Prof Bruce Keogh has said “the impact of genomic medicine will be on the same scale as other British successes including the smallpox vaccine and IVF.”
This is fantastic news and certainly a step in the right direction for the future of healthcare in the UK. The genomes scheme is an exciting development in the move towards personalised medical treatment and predictive healthcare and also highlights how important information and technology are in supporting better healthcare.
Collaboration between private and public sector organisations, along with patient consent, is essential to the success of this ground breaking initiative to become a sustained part of the UK healthcare model, and it’s great to see that this is already central to the programme. This type of collaboration is also crucial to ensure that insights are fed back into drug development to allow for targeted medicines, as well as patient care.
Personalised care is not currently possible within the NHS due to both the lack of personal information available on patients in real time and the lack of big data to use in predictive analytics. Informatics, making use of genomic and other relevant data, can help to identify the factors that put the patient at high risk of developing a condition and help tackle it before it strikes. Monitoring patients using data can also dramatically improve care management and reduce costs for the NHS, which is why today’s announcement is so significant. We recently published a report which highlighted how the better use of data analytics and information would improve the healthcare sector efficiency by up to 60 percent, resulting in NHS savings of between £16.5 billion and £66 billion per year.
Looking ahead, the real benefit of today’s news will come when we reach the point where we can translate the findings of the genomics research and use them in practice. The time lag between medical research becoming medical practice can be as long as 17 years and it’s crucial that this figure is reduced substantially to allow the benefits from this ground-breaking research to be felt by the patients across the UK.”