Jeremy Hunt, the UK health secretary, announced a new governmental agency to push for personalized medicine, the Guardian reports. Genomics England, as the new organization is called, is to oversee the mapping of 100,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases, the BBC adds.
"This project represents a great opportunity to translate our world-class genomic science into world leadership in genomic medicine," says John Chisholm, who is leading the new agency, in a statement. "Genomics England will create a dataset of anonymized whole genome sequences matched with clinical data at a scale unique in the world."
According to the Guardian, critics worry that the creation of such a database will lead to the erosion of patient privacy. "Campaigners say that a series of changes to the NHS will allow patients, who do not opt out of the system, to be cold-called by their GP on behalf of private companies to ask whether they would take part in clinical studies," the paper adds.
The announcement, and others, came on the 65th anniversary of the National Health Service.