DNA tests for cancer treatments announced by NHS Hospitals
People in England will have access to DNA tests on an unprecedented scale from the autumn. It will be the first public health service in the world to routinely offer genomic medicine to certain patients.
Hospitals across England will be connected to specialist centres that read, analyse and interpret patient DNA to help diagnose rare diseases, match patients to the most effective treatments, and reduce adverse drug reactions.
The move marks a big step towards “precision medicine”, which offers more effective therapies that are tailored to individual patients. From a bioethical point of view cancer therapies tailored to individual patients based on tumours screened would represent a great advance for the patients’ benefit (The Guardian, 7/3/2018).
DNA tests for cancer treatments
But some questions are arising by medical care specialists about the feasibility of the “routinely offer genomic medicine” from October. NHS Hospitals will need to be ready, next October, to use genomics as part of its routine care, so it should be sufficient scientists, geneticists and doctors trained to interpret the data and understand what it means for a patient’s medical condition. It is definitely a great challenge.