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Genome Center Finland - health through knowledge

The Genome Center Finland will serve as an expert on the use of genomic data

Genome Center Finland - health through knowledge

Tommi Kutilainen

Genomic data will open up new opportunities for diagnostics and treatment of diseases. The Genome Center Finland will serve as an expert on the use of genomic data. Its task will to be to enhance the responsible use of genomic data in the promotion of human health and to administer the national genome database. The genomic data of the Finnish population will be stored in the Genome Center.

Genomic data has already revolutionized the diagnostics and treatment of several types of cancer and hereditary diseases.

– Hereditary factors are usually behind such disorders as rare diseases and for people suffering from them, genomic data is very important. Diagnosing a rare disease may take years or even decades and in such cases, using genomic data to avoid wrong examinations and treatments will also mean substantial cost savings. Genomic data is already extensively used in cancer research because genomic data on tumors is also useful when treatment methods are selected, explains Kristiina Aittomäki, Professor of Medical Genetics at HUS.

In the future, genomic data will also be increasingly used in basic healthcare because it can help in the prevention of diseases.

– It has been estimated that if patients with diabetes risk could be better identified using genomic data, reducing morbidity by between two and five percent would generate savings of about EUR 50 million, says Kristiina Aittomäki in a media release published by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

The purpose of the Genome Center Finland is to ensure that human genomic data can be used in healthcare in a responsible and non-discriminatory manner. The work of the Genome Center will be based on the Genome Act, which is in the process of being drafted. The Finnish Government expects to submit the proposal for the act to Parliament in fall 2018 and if it is adopted, the Genome Center would start operations in 2019.

Citizen information campaign to be launched to disseminate information on the Genome Center

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will launch a campaign to disseminate information about the Genome Center Finland. The purpose of the campaign is to provide citizens with information on the new genome authority and the Genome Act regulating its activities as well as give citizens a say in the preparation of the matter. The genomikeskus.fi website serves as the main channel for the nationwide information campaign. The website is primarily intended for the public and it provides an overview of the planned Genome Center and the Genome Act.

On the website, you can find answers to frequently asked questions and expert blogs on topical issues. The genomikeskus.fi website will be available for citizen information until the end of 2018 when this task will be transferred to the Genome Center.

The draft of the Genome Act will be sent for comments in May–June 2018. At the same time, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will open a questionnaire in the ‘Ota kantaa' (Take a stand) website in which citizens can give their own views on the goals of the Genome Center and the proposals for its tasks and operating practices.

Inquiries:

Genomikeskus.fi website



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