People in England will have access to DNA tests on an unprecedented scale from the autumn when the NHS becomes the first health service in the world to routinely offer genomic medicine.From 1 October, hospitals across England will be connected to specialist centres that read, analyse and interpret patient DNA to help diagnose rare diseases, match patients to the most effective treatments, and reduce adverse drug reactions.The move marks a big step towards precision medicine, which offers more efficient therapies that are tailored to individual patients.Under the service, new cancer patients will routinely have their tumour DNA screened for key mutations that can point doctors towards the best drug to use in treatment, or to clinical trials of experimental therapies that patients are likely to benefit from.For some diseases, such as leukaemia, sarcoma and childhood malignancies, doctors will have the cancers whole genome sequenced to identify the suite of mutations that drive their growth. Similarly broad sequencing will be available for medical staff caring for babies and children who are admitted to intensive care without an existing diagnosis.Beyond its aim to bring patients the most effective treatments faster, the service is expected to generate a wealth of data on the interplay between DNA, health and lifestyles, which will become a powerful tool for research into cancer and other diseases.

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