Pilot centre for Government genomics project
Guy's and St Thomas' has been chosen as a pilot centre for a flagship Government project that aims to make the UK a world leader in genetic research into cancer and rare diseases.
On 1 August, the Prime Minister announced a £300million investment over four years in the 100,000 Genome Project. The project will allow scientists to do pioneering research to decode 100,000 human genomes - a patient's personal DNA.
Sequencing the genome of a person with cancer or someone with a rare disease will help scientists and doctors understand how the disease works. The project has the potential to transform the future of healthcare by helping to develop new and better tests, drugs and treatment.
As one of the pilot centres involved, the clinical genetics department at Guy's and St Thomas' will be contacting families and asking them if they would like to participate. The pilot will focus on patients with very specific, rare diseases such as skeletal dysplasias, inherited heart conditions and undiagnosed metabolic conditions.
Professor Frances Flinter, Consultant Clinical Geneticist and Professor of Clinical Genetics, is leading the rare diseases pilot at Guy’s and St Thomas’ which also launched on 1 August. She said: “We're thrilled to have the opportunity to offer whole genome sequencing to patients with rare diseases as part of the pilot.
"Some patients undergo multiple investigations over a period of many years as doctors try to make a diagnosis, but without success. If genetic testing can identify the cause of their condition, it will make a huge difference to them and their families."
The NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London will be supporting the pilot project by funding weekend clinics for patients involved in the pilot study.
Professor Tim Hubbard is Director of Bioinformatics for King’s Health Partners and Head of Bioinformatics at Genomics England. He said: “This announcement, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to and investment in genetic research, is very significant. The 100,000 Genomes Project will enable the UK to become world leaders in genetic research. Our NHS gives us the leading edge internationally, enabling us to unlock patient benefits from research much more quickly. This is an enormously important project, and I welcome the Government's commitment to this field.”