Leicester DNA research presented to House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

Written evidence from the University of Leicester about the future of DNA research in the UK has been presented to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into genomics and genome editing.

‘Genomics’, which refers to the complete set of DNA, has advanced rapidly in recent years. The Government inquiry will look at a range of important issues, including how genomics can be used to improve people’s health.

The Leicester Precision Medicine Institute and the University Hospitals of Leicester have both provided reports to the inquiry chaired by Stephen Metcalfe MP.

The evidence provided by the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute looks at the impact of Genomics on public health in the UK and the opportunities to advance this in the future.

Professor Martin Tobin, Director of the Leicester Precision Medicine Institute and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health, said: “Differences in the DNA of people influence the risk of developing disease and can influence response to treatment, such as prescribed drugs.  Differences in the DNA of bacteria and viruses can help us to track and treat infections.

“It is now becoming feasible to use this information on a larger scale to improve health. This inquiry gives a chance for a timely look at the opportunities to improve the health and wealth of the UK from advances in genomics.”

The University Hospitals of Leicester, along with its genetics and Genomics patient and stakeholder group, has also submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the steps required to introduce personalised medicine into standard NHS practice.

Dr Julian Barwell, Clinical Geneticist at the University Hospitals of Leicester and Honorary Professor in Cancer Studies at the University of Leicester, said: “Our evidence includes ten recommendations addressing staffing, training and commissioning challenges with a suggested roadmap to transforming healthcare in the future.

“The aim is that patients are screened on risk, not age; tumours are treated based on what they are, rather than what it looks like; and we prescribe the right drug to the right patient-first time.”