This week saw the publication of “Genome UK: shared commitments for UK wide implementation 2022 to 2025” which sets out ambitions to offer patients across the UK faster cancer diagnosis and innovative novel treatments.
Agreed by the UK Government and all devolved administrations, these aims are to be achieved through commitments to improve genomic testing and provide greater access to clinical trials.
This represents the first time that priority actions to improve healthcare through genomics have been unveiled in the UK. The announcement builds on 2020’s UK Genome Strategy, which outlined the Government’s desire to construct the world’s most advanced genomic healthcare system.
Moreover, it forms a key part of the Government’s wider pledge to reform healthcare, develop innovative treatments and ensure the UK is a global life science superpower.
Projects such as using whole genomic sequencing to screen newborns for rare genetic diseases – enabling faster diagnosis and better treatment – are priority areas. This early-detection genomic model can hopefully be mirrored in the fight against other diseases.
The shared commitments also intend to: produce high-quality research through UK-sharing of genomic data, further integrate genomic testing into healthcare, and bring together UK-wide COVID sequencing partnerships to work on sequencing other diseases.
In the latter’s case, UKHSA will set up a national group on disease genomics with representatives from all four nations of the United Kingdom.
Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said: “Clinical research has been vital in our fight against COVID-19 and the UK’s innovation is enabling us to transform our health service and ensure it is firmly at the cutting edge of healthcare.
We’re continuing to build on our game-changing genomic advances to better detect new diseases and faster diagnose and treat cancer, which will ultimately save lives”.
Further detailed implementation plans produced by the governments of each of the four nations are expected to be published later in 2022.