Genetics could change cancer treatment forever

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A project into DNA run by Genomics England that could make chemotherapy ‘a thing of the past’ is under way in England as the first genetic codes of people with cancer or rare diseases (out of a target of 100,000) has been sequenced.

Since the 30th of May, when the first genome was sequenced, there have been over 100 that have been completed.  It is hoped that 1,000 will be completed by the end of the year, and 10,000 by the end of next year.

The genome of a tumour will be compared to that of their healthy tissue, and people with rare diseases, including children will have their DNA compared with their relatives’.

The research will be accessible to university scientists and drug companies to aid in their research.

It is thought that DNA will soon play a role in every aspect of medicine including radiology and cancer.

Prof Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: ‘I can see a future where genetics is going to come into every bit of medicine from cardiology to oncology to infectious diseases.’

‘Twenty years from now there’s going to be a plethora of those, we will have a series of mutations which academics and industry will have developed therapies for, which will be targeted at you and specific for that cancer.’

David Cameron has said it ‘will see the UK lead the world in genetic research within years.’

The Prime Minister has announced a series of investments across government, industry and charities totalling £300m.

He said: ‘I am determined to do all I can to support the health and scientific sector to unlock the power of DNA, turning an important scientific breakthrough into something that will help deliver better tests, better drugs and above all better care for patients.

‘I believe we will be able to transform how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in the NHS and across the world.’

 

Fahad Redha

 

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