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Extension of Cancer Drugs Fund

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A £400 million cancer package to boost research and treatment for cancer patients has been announced by David Cameron.

Thousands more cancer patients in England will receive the life-extending drugs their doctors recommend from the money invested into the Cancer Drugs Fund from the Department of Health.

Alongside plans to extend the fund, the project to map 100,000 genomes was given a boost with the announcement of a partnership between Cancer Research UK and Genomics England.

To understand which treatments and drugs will be effective, the whole DNA code of 3,000 cancer patients will be sequenced as well as a further 3,000 whole DNA sequences for their cancer tumours.

The partnership is part of the Government's commitment to make Britain the first country in the world to sequence 100,000 genomes- or individual DNA codes-within five years.

More than 34,000 patients have benefitted from the Cancer Drugs Fund since it was created in 2010. The extra funding means that the Fund will now continue for an extra two years until March 2016. The extension will allow new patients to receive medication and guarantee that those currently receiving drugs will continue to get them. The new money means the amount committed to the fund in total will top £1 billion.

Charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support have expressed their delight that the fund has been extended by two years.

Mike Hobday, director of policy & research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: ‘In 2010, we campaigned to secure this funding so that more cancer patients would be able to access life-prolonging and vital treatment.

‘Since then, tens of thousands of people have been able to get the most effective cancer drugs no matter where they are from or which cancer they have. The announcement means that many more can be helped.

‘However, the Government must ensure that all drugs available through the fund will be available through the NHS after 2016. We have to avoid a return to the bad old days when cancer patients were denied lifesaving drugs simply because of where they lived or that they had a rarer cancer.'

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