Genomics England says the 100,000 Genomes Project is “well on track” to reach its target of sequencing 100,000 genomes by the end of this year.

Working with sequencing partner, Illumina, Genomics England has now sequenced a total of 71,095 genomes from patients with rare diseases, their families, and patients with cancer, it said.

Launched in 2013, the project aims to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS, improving diagnosis of many conditions and also potentially paving the way for novel treatments.

The project will also enable new medical research, says Genomics England.

Combining genomic sequence data with medical records is “a ground-breaking resource”, and researchers will assess how best to use genomics in healthcare and how best to interpret the data to help patients.

“Genetic sequencing can revolutionise healthcare by offering truly personalised care to patients and their families,” said health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy.

“This project is a shining example of a partnership between the public sector, the life sciences industry and the research community – with NHS patients reaping the benefits.”

“It has already changed the lives of many patients with cancer or a rare disease in the UK, and now this programme will expand to further transform genomic health in the NHS with improved outcomes for many more,” added Professor Mark Caulfield, Genomics England’s chief scientist.

Beyond 2018, the group will continue to support the NHS genomic medicine service, “acting as a testbed for new applications, encouraging discoveries and their translation into novel medicines and treatments, as well as working to support a thriving genomic medicine industry in the UK,” it noted.