England's National Health Service is to offer routine genomic medicine beginning this fall, the Guardian reports.
Starting the first of October, hospitals in England will be able to turn to specialist centers for genomic analysis of patients' DNA to aid in diagnosing rare diseases, tailoring treatments to patients, and avoiding adverse drug reactions, it adds. New cancer patients, meanwhile, will have their tumors screened for mutations that might make them susceptible to certain drugs, the Guardian adds.
As GenomeWeb has reported, sequencing will likely be done at the same Genomics England lab used for the 100,000 Genomes Project, which is ending this year, while seven other centers will likely continue to do conventional testing.
"We are ushering in a new era of genomic health," Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomic England, tells the Guardian. "This is a big step and it grows over the new two years. It's a total transformation."
The Guardian notes that NHS has been offering some genetic testing services already, but that the implementation has been "patchy" in different regions of the country. It adds that while the service will first be rolled out in England, officials are looking to expand it to other parts of the UK as well.