Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project has received a package of investment worth more than $505 million. The four year project focuses on new research to decode 100,000 human genomes—a patient’s personal DNA code.
Sequencing the genome of a person with cancer or someone with a rare disease will help scientists and doctors understand how disease works. The project has the potential to transform the future of health care, with new and better tests, drugs and treatment. It is expected to provide a lifeline to thousands of families affected by rare genetic diseases and cancers.
The Prime Minister has pledged that the U.K. will map 100,000 human genomes by 2017. Genomics England and Illumina have partnered to turn the plan into reality. Illumina’s services for whole genome sequencing have been secured in a deal worth $131.3 million. In turn, Illumina will invest $272 million into the work in England over four years, creating new knowledge and jobs in genome sequencing.
The Wellcome Trust has invested more than $1.7 billion in genomic research and has agreed to spend $45.4 million on a world class sequencing hub at its Genome Campus near Cambridge. This will house Genomics England’s operations alongside those of the Sanger Institute.
The Medical Research Council also has earmarked $40.4 million to help provide the computing power to make sure the data of participants will be properly analyzed, interpreted and made available to doctors and researchers securely.
NHS England has started the process of selecting the first NHS Genomics Medicine Centers. Successful centers will help to progress this ambitious project by inviting cancer and rare disease patients to take part by having their genome sequenced. NHS England has agreed to underwrite an NHS contribution of up to $33.7 million over the life of the project.
It is expected 40,000 NHS patients could benefit directly from the research. Ultimately, this work will pave the way for genomics-based medicine to become part of everyday practice throughout the NHS. Participation in the project will be based on consent, and people’s data will be protected through Genomics England’s secure data services.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said, “Understanding humanity’s genetic code is not only going to be fundamental to the medicine of the future. It is an essential part of medicine today. In rare congenital diseases, in cancer and in infections, genomic insights already are transforming diagnosis and treatment.”