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The revolutionary 100,000 Genomes Project has taken another step forward as a new NHS Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC) recruited its first patient to the programme.
The ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project, launched by the Prime Minister in 2012, will transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases and drive forward improvements in the fast-emerging field of genomic medicine.
Patients who participate in the programme are enabling scientists and doctors to learn more about specific conditions, identifying potential genetic causes and transforming the way diagnosis and treatment can take place in the future.
Two more NHS GMCs were added last December to the 11 centres already up and running, one of which was Yorkshire and Humber NHS GMC.
Now Donna Proctor, a 49-year-old domestic supervisor at Seacroft Hospital, has become the first person to provide a blood sample for the Yorkshire and Humber GMC as she is being investigated for a rare disease which results in an inherited predisposition to cancer.
Donna said: “This could make all the difference for people in the future if it helps researchers find different treatments or cures for cancers. I think it is a really positive thing to do and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to take part if they can.”
Dr Andrew Jack, Clinical Director for the Yorkshire and Humber NHS GMC project, added: “Genomics is key to the future of medicine. Patients with inherited genetic disorders and cancer will benefit though the provision of more efficient diagnosis, better patient information and by enabling access to the next generation of targeted therapies.
“We will achieve this by harnessing the enthusiasm of clinicians and patients across the region.”
Professor Sue Hill, the Chief Scientific Officer for England said: “This is a great step forward for healthcare in Yorkshire and Humber and another step in keeping NHS care at the cutting edge of science. The contribution of people like Donna, and many, many others like her, is helping to build the future of health care across the country.
“The UK is already a leader in genomic technologies and the unique structure of the NHS allows us to deliver these advances at scale and pace for patient benefit. This is another step towards building the knowledge and skills to improve care for generations to come.”
Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP added: “Our revolutionary 100,000 Genomes Project is bringing twenty-first century medicine to NHS patients in Yorkshire and Humber.
“Recruiting the first patient not only confirms the region’s vital role in enhancing the UK’s reputation as a world-leader in medical science, it will also help to pioneer new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer and rare diseases.”
There are now 13 designated Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) across the country. It is anticipated that around 70,000 people will be involved in the 100,000 Genomes Project, which includes some patients with cancer and rare diseases. Find out more about NHS Genomic Medicine Centres locations.
After DNA samples are collected, they are sent securely to be sequenced. Genomics England, together with a range of partners, then analyses the data. Results will be sent back to the NHS for validation and clinical action.
The number of whole genomes sequenced to date is published each month on the Genomics England website.
The Yorkshire and Humber GMC is a joint collaboration between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust working closely with all 22 NHS health trusts in the region supported by the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network.