Feeds

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

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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". ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.