NHS to offer paid-for DNA tests if patients share data

Tuesday 29th January 2019 08:51 EST

People in England will be able to pay the NHS to sequence their genes on condition they share their data. Those taking part in the planned scheme will be given a health report which can predict the risk of developing conditions like cancer or Alzheimer's.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says it will help develop treatments "that will benefit everyone in the future".

But concerns have been raised over the plans by the chairwoman of the British Society for Genetic Medicine.

It is possible DNA tests could alert patients to issues in need of further investigation. All data would be shared with scientists anonymously. Mr Hancock said: "While healthy people should not have this service free on the NHS, there are huge benefits to sequencing as many genomes as we can. Every genome sequenced moves us a step closer to unlocking life-saving treatments."

The Department of Health said the project - which will be led by Genomic England, a company set up and owned by the NHS - is still in the development phase. No detail has been provided on a launch date or how much the service would cost. It follows the successful completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project in December 2018.

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