Danish Regions propose to map genes of 100,000 Danes in order to develop personalised medicine and pave the way for more efficient medical treatments.
For years, genetic tests have been a common practice in the treatment of certain types of cancer and when counselling people about heredity diseases.
Danish Regions now suggests expanding on this practice by screening a large group of Danes to get precise information about their genes and provide them with the right treatment quickly.
A unique position and opportunity
“For many reasons, Denmark is in a unique position to become a leader in this area,” Jens Stenbæk, the chairman of the Health Innovation Committee at Danish Regions, stated.
“We can build on our existing biobanks and on clinical databanks. At the same time, we have a very homogeneous population.”
Especially citizens with a heart condition
The 100,000 figure is based on statistics and existing gene data.
Initially, healthcare professionals would focus on citizens who, at a young age, were diagnosed with a heart condition.
The project has been estimated to cost at least one billion kroner and would be financed by both private and public funds.
Enormous potential for developing effective medicine
According to Stenbæk, however, the potential for developing new drugs is enormous.
“If we manage to develop more precise medicine, this could turn into an export adventure along the same line as wind turbines,” Stenbæk commented.
“Today, we waste both time and lives as well as money because the current medicine is not precise enough. For example, only 25 percent of cancer treatments are effective.”
Danish Regions are currently in a dialogue with the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Genome Denmark about possible ethical problems.