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Chinese Government Plans to Maximise Genome Sequencing Technology in Healthcare Sector

The Chinese government is finalising plans to establish precision medicine in the country for effective healthcare treatment. Precision medicine utilizes genomic and physiological data in order to cater treatments specifically to individuals.

This healthcare model will enable healthcare officials to gather significant amount of data to determine how drugs affect individuals in specific ways this allows drugs to be targeted only to individuals who benefit them.

Precision medicine is a relatively new initiative supported by governments. Last year, US President Barack Obama has called the Congress to transit using precision medicine model, especially in treating cancers.

Precision medicine is appealing because it maximises medical resources and limits side-effects of treatments. Patients with a certain cancer for example can undergo molecular testing in choosing which drug is their best match. Individuals can choose a drug designed specifically to target the genetic defect causing their illness.

This cuts waste, improve health outcomes using existing treatments, and is informative for drug development. The pharmaceutical market is also better able to detect demand and supply of particular drugs.

The Chinese government is expected to officially announce the initiative after it approves its next five-year plan in March.

Several leading research and healthcare institutes are anticipating this initiative. Tsinghua University, Fudan University and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences are already to setting up precision-medicine centres. Sichuan University’s West China Hospital plans 1 million human genomes itself.

Director of the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, Zhan Qimin is involved in this project. He explained the intricacies of this initiative which is estimated to cost over US$9 billion over the next 15 years. In addition, it will involve hundreds of separate projects to sequence genomes and gather clinical data.

China holds a high reputation in genome sequencing and this model is expected to alleviate burden in treatments of stomach and liver cancers which are most common in China.  

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