UK takes major step towards personalised medicine

12 June 2013

Plans for the largest cancer patient database in the world were revealed today in the Times newspaper and at the Cancer Outcomes Conference hosted by the National Cancer Intelligence Network.
 
Public Health England (PHE), which together with NHS England is one of the two key executive agencies of the National Health Service (NHS) in England, is to create a national registry to store all available data on the 350,000 tumours identified in the country each year.
 
The data will be drawn from patients at every acute NHS trust, as well 11 million historical records, and will include information on treatment and outcomes as well as clinical data. It will be linked with data from separate smaller registries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
 
The intention is that this data will facilitate the development and implementation of personalised cancer medicine, where precise diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options can be determined based on the exact genetic features of each tumour. It will also facilitate research to allow new and better understanding of different types of tumour and the development of new treatments.
 
PHE’s national director of disease registration Jem Rashbass said the new registry would be the most comprehensive, detailed and rich clinical dataset on cancer patients anywhere in the world and added:  “This will fundamentally change the way we diagnose and treat cancer…In five years we'll be sequencing cancers and using therapies targeted to it".

The registry is part of the recent Government commitment to spend £100 million on genomic sequencing and medical applications (see previous news).

 

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