Dec 10th 2012: the Primer Minister of the UK, David Cameron, visited the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and our lab!
Why were they here: The UK Government announced a new initiative to invest in medical genome sciences. Up to 100,000 UK patients will have their DNA sequenced (partially or fully ) as part of a drive to revolutionise NHS treatment with £100m being earmarked for training genetic scientists, mapping patients' DNA, and creating systems for handling the information. The hope is that this investment will help to drive costs down to the point that sequencing can be a normal NHS test.
Science minister David Willetts said “Life sciences is one of the most truly international sectors - so if we are to continue to be a world player and compete in the global race we must do everything we can to support it.”
The Primer Minster David Cameron said “this new plan will mean we are the first country in the world to use DNA codes in the mainstream of the health service. If we get this right, we could transform how we diagnose and treat our most complex diseases not only here but across the world, while enabling our best scientists to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology.”
Sally Davies, the Government's Chief Medical Officer said "this funding opens up the possibility of being able to look at the three billion DNA pieces in each of us so we can get a greater understanding of the complex relationship between our genes and lifestyle."
CRUK has been working hard on personalising cancer medicine with the Stratified Medicines Initiative. About 9,000 people with breast, bowel, lung, prostate, ovary or melanoma cancer will have their genomes seqeunced for key cancer drivers.