LONDON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A 300-million-pound (about 505-million-U.S. dollars) investment in gene sequencing was announced by British prime minister on Friday, in hope of making Britain a world leader in ground-breaking genetic research into cancer and rare diseases.
Sequencing the genome of a patient will help scientists and doctors understand how disease works. The four year project will allow scientists to do pioneering new research to decode 100,000 human genomes - a patient’s personal DNA code. It is expected to provide a lifeline to thousands of families affected by rare genetic diseases and cancers.
Previous genetics research has shown that cancers can be very different, each with a different cause, life expectancy and needing a different treatment. This means targeted drugs are so important, which has been made possible because of genetics research.
The other focus of this project is rare diseases, which are uncommon but there are between 5,000 to 8,000 known genetic disorders. Around 3 million people are affected by them, half of these are children.
According to the project, people with rare diseases could have their DNA compared with that of close relatives. And research institutions and drug companies will be allowed to access the data for their research.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who unveiled the project, said that: “As our plan becomes a reality, I believe we will be able to transform how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in UK and across the world, while supporting our best scientists and life science business.