Feeds

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

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

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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". ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.