Whole Genome-Sequencing for UK Newborns to Avoid Health Risks
Now, all children will be able to receive whole genome sequencing at birth, under ambitions laid out by the UK Health Secretary.
Matt Hancock said that in the future, these tests would be routinely offered, along with the standard checks on the newborns, in order to map out the risk of any genetic diseases and offer “predictive, personalized” care.
Ministers have promised that such tests will be offered to all children diagnosed with cancer by the end of this year.
The same steps are planned now for adults with certain rare diseases & hard-to-treat cancers, with ambitions to sequence about five million genomes in the UK within 5 years.
Mr. Hancock has now unveiled hopes to go further telling scientists that every single child should be given the tests at birth, in a genomic revolution across the country.
These moves would mean parents could choose to be alerted to the fact their child faced heightened risks of specific diseases, and also allow the NHS to offer more tailored treatment, experts say.
While the information could improve care & harness future breakthroughs, families will face a dilemma about whether they actually want to know about the lifetime risks facing their child.
Hancock in a conference by Genomics England told that children would get the best start in life if they were offered with gene mapping alongside the standard checks offered within days of birth, to test for rare diseases.
He added that his ambition is that eventually, every child should be able to receive the whole genome-sequencing along with the heel prick test. He added that these tests will give every child the best possible start in their life by ensuring children get the best possible medical attention and care as soon as they enter the world. Predictive, preventative, personalized healthcare – that is the future of the NHS – and whole-genome sequencing & genomics is going to play a vital part in that, he added.
The Health Secretary added the NHS was standing on the cusp of a healthcare revolution which means everyone could receive personalized healthcare with tailor-made drugs & treatments.
The 100,000 Genomes-Project was launched by David Cameron in the year 2012, in memory of his son Ivan, who died in the year 2009 from a rare neurological disorder. The target was actually met last December, with the NHS now working to a goal of five million genomes to be sequenced within 5 years.
Hancock added the project had already meant 15,000 cancer patients had seen changes in their treatments, with a quarter of participants with rare diseases receiving a more specific diagnosis which could improve their treatments.
Editor’s Note: the UK To Offer Whole Genome Sequencing For Newborns in Future, Whole Genome-Sequencing for UK Newborns to Avoid Health Risks, All children to receive whole genome sequencing at birth, under ambitions laid out by Matt Hancock.