What do our experts say?
Widecells CSO Peter Hollands gives his view on the news the British national health service will being using genomic medicine to establish the most effective treatments and reduce adverse drug reactions:
Fantastic news that the UK is to be the first country in the world to offer this remarkable DNA testing technology on the health service.
To understand why this is such a big deal, it’s useful to know how we treat patients at the moment. Our current system uses something of a ‘machine gun’ approach – patients with the same disease or problem tend to all receive mostly identical treatment. Some might respond well to the treatment, others not so well, and some people may respond very badly indeed. What DNA testing allows us to do is to avoid the latter two outcomes and to better tailor treatments to individual patients’ genomes — a technique known as ‘precision medicine’.
It’s not hyperbole to say that this is the next big step forward in the practise of clinical medicine. It will affect the treatment of all major diseases – including the two biggest killers, heart disease and cancer — and there’s no doubt that it will make treatment across the board significantly more efficient.
The bottom line here is that we can expect patients suffering from these diseases and others to recover more quickly and with fewer complications.
This is a clever and eminently practical step forward for the NHS. The quicker and more reliably patients recover, the faster they are out of hospital, and the lower the cost of treating them.
The health service can often find itself firefighting, but here we can see it taking a truly forward-thinking approach. Excellent news indeed.