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UK Cancer Body, Genomics England Partner on Patient, Tumor Sequencing Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Two UK government research bodies will partner to sequence the genomes of 3,000 cancer patients and their tumors, according to UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron unveiled the plan this past weekend in connection with his announcement that the government is providing a large funding boost of £400 million ($650 million) to support the Cancer Drugs Fund, which pays for cancer treatments for patients.

Under the initiative, Cancer Research UK will work with Genomics England (GeL), a new company owned by the UK Department of Health that will oversee the 100K Genomes Project. The project is a massive effort aimed at sequencing the genomes of 100,000 patients in five years, and which will manage a database of genomic and clinical data.

"Britain has a potential strategic advantage in the development and delivery of genomic medicine in the form of the single public nationalized health service system, and the 100,000 Genomes Project has been seen by many as a crucial first step towards this," the UK's Foundation for Genomics and Population Health said in a statement yesterday.

GeL said that it is now recruiting for positions to manage the contracts for sequencing and data linkage and analysis for the 100K Genomes project, and to handle its other duties. It currently is seeking to fill staff positions in a range of expertise areas, including whole-genome sequencing, bioinformatics, annotation, and large-scale data storage.