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Genomics England to recruit cancer patients for genome sequencing

Government-funded 100,000-genomes project will begin to recruit cancer patients as part of its Oxford cancer programme

The UK government-funded 100,000-genomes project is to begin recruiting cancer patients as part of its Oxford cancer programme.

The project aims to sequence 100,000 genomes by 2017 in order to advance treatment of cancer and other rare diseases. The scheme was announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in July 2013 and is run by Genomics England, a body set up by the government.

Oxford is one of 11 NHS genomic medicine centres set up by Genomics England. The programme launched its rare disease programme earlier this year and the cancer programme will begin recruiting patients in the Oxford region this month. 

The programme will collect a total of 1,200 samples from about 600 cancer patients and 2,000 samples from about 660 rare disease patients.

The samples will then be sequenced by San Diego-based biotechnology company Illumina, which partnered Genomics England last year.

Anna Schuh, director of the Oxford NHS Genomic Medicine Centre and associate professor of molecular diagnostics, said the project would allow eligible patients to access “state-of-the-art genomic diagnostics”.

“For some of these patients, this new diagnostic approach will alter clinical management and can guide clinicians towards more effective treatment options,” she said.

Prime minister David Cameron announced £300m of government support for the programme last year. The Medical Research Council has put aside £24m in computing power to analyse and secure the data.

Computer Weekly reported in July this year that Capita S3 has deployed 7PB of EMC Isilon clustered NAS with flash storage for the project.

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