Professor Sir Malcolm Grant, CBE, delivered the closing keynote at UK e-Health Week, speaking about the future of data analysis and personalised medicine in this country in the next 20 years
(London, UK) The future of genomics and data are critical areas we need to look at moving forward, explained the Chairman of NHS England at Olympia, London.
Grant addressed the audience with his talk about peering into the next decade or more regarding the use of genomics and data and what is needed to make sure these are used in the best and safest way possible.
He said: “We are still in the second generation of genome sequencing but this is not a static technology.
“Another aspect is how we can use genome sequencing as a model of personalised medicine. We know that many of the drugs used in chemotherapy don’t work for 30 or 40% of patients in which they are used. That is not only hurtful, harmful and dangerous, but hugely expensive as a resource.
“Rare diseases, affect something like 5% of the total population of England. It takes seven years on average to diagnose a rare disease in patients. At this moment the diagnostic tools are not yet up to speed or fulfil a purpose.”
Grant also praised the way in which the UK is currently using genome sequencing, adding: “This is cutting edge technology and an area that the UK is ahead of the world where we can do proper genome sequencing.
“If we don’t lead on this there are many other countries that will and we will pay heavily. It is absolutely critical to capture this at an early stage.
“Genomics is simply one of the new technologies that we know can drive the transformation of medicine. For the rest of this century, you will see the rise of data science overtaking medical science.”
He also explained how data privacy and data integrity need to be looked at very closely as we move towards a safer digital era.
“There is a deep concern over data privacy. What we know is the public hate the notion of somebody reading data with no authority and there is a huge sensitivity about it,” added Grant.
“Another huge concern is the threat of a cyber security attack with the main issue being hospitals.
“There is a big threat for hospitals and electronic medical records, that a probe could corrupt the data. Someone could change blood group of all patients in a set of medical records and charge a ransom fee for corruption.”
Grant added: “The next stage of development is how we build the medical eHealth agenda through these technologies on top of the personal eHealth agenda.
“It will raise vision for the future. It will be very different from the model of medicine we have inherited and taken through our own generation.”