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Call for guidance on genomic medicines

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has published a report on genomic medicine

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has published a report on genomic medicine. In February 2008 the Committee launched an inquiry, chaired by Lord Patel, to assess the impact of genome technologies on clinical practice. The report concludes that recent developments in human genome research present opportunities for advances in medical care across a range of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. However, as the previous White Paper on genomic medicine was published in 2003, it suggests that an update is now needed to reflect current scientific knowledge. 

A number of genetic tests are used within the NHS, to improve diagnosis and treatment, but this report reveals several barriers to mainstream use within the healthcare system. The authors recommend that the National Institute for Health Research and Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research are involved in the process and recognise that doctors and nurses need adequate training. The report also reflected concerns about home testing kits and about privacy issues associated with the retention and use of genetic data.

Lord Patel said in a statement: "Genomic medicine will clearly have a huge impact on health provision and the NHS in particular over the next few years… It is time for a comprehensive statement from the Government on how genomic medicine will be incorporated into the NHS, including details of the extra training doctors and nurses will need in this area."

7th July 2009

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