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Make It Routine

Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, has called for genomic testing to be a routine part of clinical care, the Guardian reports.

"Genomic medicine has the potential to save costs and improve quality of care by targeting treatment, maximizing benefit, and reducing side effects," she writes in her annual report. She adds that genomics "is opening up better diagnoses for patients, better and safer treatments, opportunities for screening and the possibilities for prevention."

Right now, Davies says DNA testing is set up as a cottage industry and needs to be centralized, BBC News reports. She adds that a new National Genomics Board should be set up to oversee the roll-out of genomic services throughout the National Health Service.

"We need to take the science to the patients and not the patients to the science," she tells the Guardian.

Davies further outlined a new social contract, the Guardian says, in which people realize that by sharing their genetic data for study, they'd be helping themselves as well as others.

"The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute welcomes the Chief Medical Officer's report that acknowledges the central role of genomics in improving future healthcare," says Julia Wilson, associate director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, in a statement.

"Medical treatments and diagnoses have been transformed by genomics and genetic research in conditions as diverse as inherited diseases, infections and cancer," she adds. "This will continue as we reveal further the secrets of genomes which will drive the development of personalized medicine in the UK."