New UK genomic research project to support UK scientists

A major new gene research project which aims to generate new insights into how cancer and rare diseases are diagnosed and treated has been announced by the government.

Funding of more than £300m has been set aside for the four-year project which will help support UK-based scientists in decoding 100,000 human genomes by 2017. A partnership between Genomics England and Illumina will provide the infrastructure for the research.

The research is intended to unlock insights into how rare diseases and cancer are diagnosed and treated, to allow the creation of new tests, drugs and therapies. 

Around 40,000 NHS patients are expected to benefit directly from the research, which would allow genomics-based medicine to become a mainstream treatment approach.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I believe we will be able to transform how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in the NHS and across the world, while supporting our best scientists and life science businesses to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology.”

Genomics England was established as a subsidiary limited company by the Department of Health to ensure that the 100,000 Genomes Project will begin as soon as possible.