Editorials

The genomic challenge

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7180.341 (Published 06 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:341

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It's huge and the NHS is poorly prepared to meet it

  1. Tessa Richards, Associate editor
  1. BMJ

    Is the United Kingdom set to become Europe's genome valley? The British government is determined it should try, and the Department of Trade and Industry is spearheading an initiative to build on Britain's strong bioscience base and exploit its commercial potential. Within Europe the United Kingdom has the lead in genome research, and the government sees support of the science infrastructure, including the burgeoning number of private biotechnology companies, as essential to future development of new biotechnology products, including medical diagnostics, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, and new gene based medical treatments. It has also explicitly accepted the potential of the genomic revolution to improving the quality of health care. But improving the infrastructure and getting the benefits of genomics into patient care is a daunting task.

    The last comprehensive spending review boosted the science budget by £1.4bn over three years, with effect from January 1999. The new funds, which represent a real increase of about 15%, will be shared among the whole scientific and engineering community, but there is a clear focus on life sciences and …

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