A grand and ambitious project launched in Scotland, called, Generation Scotland would look at the ways genetic and lifestyle factors cause cancer, heart disease and mental illness.
The driving forces behind this mega project are Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The aim of the project is to follow the health of 50,000 Scots family members over the next generation.
The project will be conducted in full and close collaboration with the NHS in Scotland. The funding by the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Funding Council is also to the tune of initial grants of Ģ4.4m and Ģ1.8m respectively.
There is a call for public cooperation and the scientific partners have begun collecting health and genetic data from Scottish families to build a rich store of material to explore the causes of common diseases.
The project would explore health and lifestyle related illnesses.
The findings will help identify those at high risk of developing genetic conditions, and allow early treatments with new drugs designed to combat such diseases. The genetic information will also help adapt prescription drugs to individual needs.
According to Professor Andrew Morris, University of Dundee and Chairman of the Generation Scotland Scientific Committee that oversees the research programme, "Generation Scotland is exceptional in its scale and design. We are delighted that after years of careful preparation we are in a position to create a uniquely Scottish resource of the highest international standing, which has the potential to shape everyday clinical care and modern public health strategies. Many of Scotland's leading scientists, epidemiologists and social science researchers have contributed enormously to the development of Generation Scotland and we are now ready to build upon this momentum by working with thousands of families across Scotland to create a resource that will inform the separate and combined effects of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors on human health and disease. Generation Scotland has proven the benefits of collaboration on three fronts: firstly we have created a unique collaboration between all the medical schools in Scotland and other key scientific institutions; secondly we have built important bridges between NHS and academic colleagues, which raises the exciting possibility of accelerating research findings into clinical practice. Most importantly through our public consultation work we are forging collaboration with the Scottish people to create a scientific resource for the public good."
Professor Anna Dominiczak, University of Glasgow, said: "This funding is great news, and will build on substantial collaborative groundwork which has been done over several years. The initiative focuses on the health of Scottish families and builds upon Scotland's track record in epidemiology, record-linkage, quality NHS databases and genetics. It includes specific research proposals in the areas of cardiovascular diseases, mental health and pharmacogenetics, and brings together an impressive list of lead investigators and collaborators who collectively represent an unbeatable combination of proven research expertise in Scotland. This unique cross-institutional, interdisciplinary endeavour will make Scotland internationally competitive in human genetics of common complex diseases."
Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "Preventative advice and medicine is an increasing part of our drive towards better health in Scotland. If we can identify groups of people at risk of particular conditions, such as heart disease, osteoporosis or mental illness, we can give them the support they need early in life to avoid problems, or if they are older, work with them to manage their conditions more effectively. We can also discover which groups of the population respond best to which medicines, enabling us to target those resources more effectively, making sure that the right patients get the right treatment. Not only is this good for the individual being treated, but it frees up resources which we can then use elsewhere in the NHS."
This is a grand and benefiting endeavour which would bring Scotland health sciences to the forefront of world health sciences.