Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_94876

Genomics England announces 11 centres spearheading 100,000 Genomes Project

12 January 2015
Appeared in BioNews 785

Eleven NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) have been announced by Genomics England. They will spearhead the 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to decode the genomes of patients affected by cancers or rare diseases, and subsequently use this knowledge to develop better diagnostic tests and treatments for these conditions.

Professor Mark Caulfield, chief scientist for Genomics England, said the centres would bring researchers and clinicians together 'to work as part of Genomic England's Clinical Interpretation Partnership on whole genome data that has never been collected on this scale before. We have a clear goal of accelerating the findings from the programme back into mainstream healthcare at the fastest possible pace, meaning more rapid results for patients.'

The 100,000 Genomes Project will focus on the five most common cancers - breast, bowel, ovarian, lung and the commonest form of leukaemia - as well as 110 rare diseases. DNA samples collected at the GMCs will be decoded and analysed by the biotech company Illumina. The results will be returned to NHS England, where they will be validated and shared with patients. The project will cost £300million and is scheduled to run for three years.

DNA of cancer patients will be taken from the tumour sample as well as from healthy tissue and compared. For rare diseases, the project hopes to uncover the basic genetic flaws by comparing DNA from affected individuals with that of close unaffected relatives.

Talking to the Daily Mail, life sciences minister George Freeman MP seemed to imply gene therapy to be an ultimate goal for the project: 'We can move from practising one-size-fits-all medicine to beginning to do targeted, stratified, and ultimately precision and potentially preventative medicine - therapies that prevent disease rather than treating disease after it's occurred. It's a very powerful technology.'

The decoded genomes along with patients' anonymised medical records will be made available to academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies for disease and drug research. However, third parties will only be able to study and analyse the data at the GMCs, but can take away 'statistical summaries', Professor Sean Whittaker, clinical lead for south London's Genomics Network Alliance, which will become a GMC, told Channel 4 correspondent Victoria Macdonald.

During a further interview with Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz from the GMC based at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, presenter Jon Snow asked whether there is a danger that we will eventually reach a point where everybody is subjected to DNA profiling. Professor Bitner-Glindzicz reiterated that the purpose of the project is to gain knowledge about human genetics in health and disease, and that participation in the project is not compulsory.

The eleven GMCs are based in London (three GMCs), Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Birmingham and Exeter.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Centres leading genes project named
MailOnline |  22 December 2014
How the genomes project could help you
Channel 4 |  22 December 2014
NHS DNA scheme to fight cancer and genetic diseases
BBC News |  22 December 2014
NHS Genomic Medicine Centres announced for 100,000 Genomes Project
Genomics England (press release) |  22 December 2014
NHS launching genome banks in 2015
Wired |  22 December 2014
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
31 July 2017 - by BioNews 
This film documents the Progress Educational Trust/Genomics England event 'What Next for Genomics? Providing Answers, Changing Lives, Transforming the NHS', which launched the Chief Medical Officer's report Generation Genome...
10 July 2017 - by Jennifer Willows 
The Chief Medical Officer of England's annual report has recommended that personalised medicine approaches be adopted widely within the NHS.
10 July 2017 - by Dr Rachel Brown 
A packed public event, produced by the Progress Educational Trust in partnership with Genomics England, saw the Chief Medical Officer for England launch her report 'Generation Genome'...
28 September 2015 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Genomics England has produced a short animated film to explain exactly what happens to the data it is collecting as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project. After watching it, I feel that I know exactly where my data would go if I was to take part in the project, and that they would be guarded like the crown jewels...
26 May 2015 - by Sandy Starr 
From February to April 2015, readers of BioNews were asked for their views on the 100,000 Genomes Project - a UK Government initiative which aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients and their families. 775 of you responded to our poll...
30 March 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
Genomics England has announced a new consortium that will see it share data from the 100,000 Genomes Project with major industry players...
16 March 2015 - by Hannah Somers 
Three British men have been diagnosed with rare diseases after having their complete genomes sequenced as part of the UK-based 100,000 Genomes Project...
9 February 2015 - by Dr Nicola Davis 
The US President, Barack Obama, has revealed details of a multi-agency personalised medicine research plan...
24 November 2014 - by David O'Rourke 
Genomics England is inviting applications from UK researchers, NHS clinicians and those in scientific training to access the data compiled by its DNA sequencing project, the 100,000 Genomes Project....
10 November 2014 - by Dr Nicoletta Charolidi 
At this Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Genomics England event on the use of data in the 100,000 Genomes Project, a panel of experts had the opportunity to reflect on the goals of the project and respond to audience questions...
20 October 2014 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd 
The Progress Educational Trust's event on the 100,000 Genomes Project gave the general public an opportunity to ask a panel of experts about the ethics of the project, the security of the data and its long-term sustainability...
4 August 2014 - by Siobhan Chan 
The UK Government has announced it will provide £300 million funding for a project to sequence 100,000 genomes, saying that it will 'revolutionise [the] fight against cancer and rare diseases'...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.