David Cameron promises Olympic Games health 'legacy'

image captionDavid Cameron will emphasise the legacy to be left by the London Games

David Cameron is to announce the setting-up of a £10m science research centre on the site of the Olympic drug-testing laboratories.

The "phenome" facility will allow better understanding of physical characteristics such as hair and eye colour, as well as diseases including dementia and diabetes.

The prime minister will say the UK can "lead the world" in the research field.

He will address 500 leading figures from the global health industry.

The centre, in Harlow, Essex, is on the site of the London Olympics' anti-doping laboratory.


Mr Cameron is expected to say: "When the Games close, all this incredible equipment and expertise will be used to establish a new phenome centre for research into biological markers of health and disease.

"This will take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that lie in combining genetic data with the results of medical tests on tissues and blood.

"It will allow us to understand the characteristics of disease and how these link into genes and our environment."

He will add: "It's an impressive example of collaboration between top-class research, the NHS and industry. It will produce new forms of drugs and it will lead the world in the development of precision medicine."

The centre, run by drugs firm GlaxoSmithKline, will be funded by £10m over five years from the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Our investment in this new centre, the first of its kind, promises better targeted treatments for patients with a wide range of common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

"Patients will benefit from faster and more accurate diagnosis, and researchers will be able to develop new drugs and treatments as we understand more about the characteristics of diseases and new sub-types of diseases are discovered."

England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said: "This research centre will transform our understanding of people's physical characteristics and disease, and enable us to pull these discoveries into real benefits for patients.

"The advances that will be made by the researchers will help develop new treatments, including treatments specially tailored for the individual.

"This has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we treat a wide range of diseases."

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