Feeds

'UK DNA database by stealth' proposed in £100m NHS project

Mighty archive to 'unlock the power of DNA' - Cameron

Reducing security risks from open source software

Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce plans for the NHS to create a massive database of patients' DNA, which experts have advised could lead to massive health benefits and advances in medical technology. However the creation of such a database has obvious and far reaching privacy implications.

In an attempt to address such concerns, an official statement issued ahead of the announcements states that such data would be anonymised "apart from when it is used for an individuals own care".

"A number of ways to store this data will be investigated," a Downing Street spokesman said. "The privacy and confidentiality of NHS patients will be paramount in this decision."

Under the proposal, the DNA of NHS patients from England will be sequenced over three to five years and analysed, the Prime Minister said today. He added he hoped to "transform cancer treatment" in the country.

Cameron said that £100m had been set aside for the database, although Downing Street's official announcement was careful not to use that particular word preferring instead to reference a "data infrastructure" to be built for genetic boffins.

Yes, Prime Minister, it will be a MASSIVE database. Pic credit: No. 10

Number 10 added:

The genome profile will give doctors a new, advanced understanding of a patient’s genetic make-up, condition and treatment needs, ensuring they have access to the right drugs and personalised care far quicker than ever before.

It will also help to develop life-saving new drugs, treatments and scientific breakthroughs, which experts predict could significantly reduce the number of premature deaths from cancer within a generation.

The PM said the millions of pounds his government planned to pump into the project would "unlock the power of DNA data".

A human genome can be fully sequenced for less than £1,000, Number 10 said. The original DNA-mapping programme undertaken during Tony Blair's premiership at around the turn of the century cost £500m.

Now that costs have supposedly plummeted, the market is ripe to be exploited by private companies hoping to cash in by using these rich datasets to create "personalised medicines and individualised treatments".

GeneWatch UK previously warned that such a plan "amounts to building a DNA database in the NHS by stealth". ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.