On December 10, 2012, then Prime Minister of UK – David Cameron, announced the government's commitment to sequence 100,000 human genomes by the end of 2017. Successful delivery of the 100,000 Genome Project would make the National Health Service the world's first healthcare system to launch a'genomics medicine service'. The 100,000 genomes project can be seen as a pilot, paving the way for a digital NHS using genomics as part of its routine service. Research opportunities and the mainstream use of genomic medicine are expected to make a major contribution towards economic growth in UK, and will firmly establish the UK as an international center for the industry. Genomics England, the organization responsible for the 100,000 genomes project, provide examples on their web site of how research and personalized medicine will bring vast improvements to clinical standards while driving down the cost of care through: preventative medicine, reducing waste, and identifying low value activities.
Artificial intelligence is already being put to use in the NHS, with Google's AI firm DeepMind providing technology to help monitor patients. And a new study suggests that Google could soon be meeting with Genomic England - a company set up by the Department of Health to sequence 100,000 genomes – to discuss whether DeepMind could get involved. In an article for The Conversation, Edward Hockings a researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, explains the risks of letting a private company gain access to sensitive genetic data. In Google's case, he says, it could allow them to target users with personalised advertising based on their preferences and health risks. It could also create profiles of people based on their DNA data, which may provide details such as their risk of becoming a criminal.
Mahni Ghorashi is the co-founder of Clear Labs, where he leads commercial activities including strategy, marketing and business development. Gaurav Garg is a founding partner of Wing Venture Capital. We've entered a new phase in the history of whole genome sequencing (WGS). Consider that researchers at University of Toronto just launched a massive project to sequence the whole genomes of 10,000 people per year. This is truly astounding when you recall that it took 13 years and $3 billion to sequence the first human genome, and that as recently as 2012 there were only 69 whole human genomes that had ever been sequenced.
People in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genes on condition they share their data. Those taking part in the planned scheme will be given a health report which can predict the risk of developing conditions like cancer or Alzheimer's. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says it will help develop treatments "that will benefit everyone in the future". But concerns have been raised over the plans by the chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine. It is possible DNA tests could alert patients to issues in need of further investigation.