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£100m project to map DNA

Up to 100,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases are to have their DNA fully mapped as part of a drive to revolutionise NHS treatment.

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Professor: DNA map allows better cancer management

Sir John Bell, government adviser on genetics and professor of medical sciences at Oxford University, said genetics can deliver medicines to patients and help understand cancer.

He said: “There are some people who have a genetic predisposition to cancer, they tend to be relatively rare.

"There are a number of cancers – quite rare – where there is a predictability issue. At the moment we are not very good at identifying those."

Once you have a cancer, its major drivers of behaviour are genetic. An understanding of the genetics of the cancer itself turn out to be crucial for understanding what is going to happen to you with that cancer, and choosing the therapies you can most effectively use.

– Sir John Bell, Professor of Medical Sciences at Oxford University

"It’s not the main point, it’s about being able to manage people’s cancers better and more precisely,” he said in an interview with the BBC's Today programme.

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