Genomics England calls on the UK research community

Genomics England is today inviting applications to join our new Clinical Interpretation Partnership from UK researchers, NHS Clinicians and those in training where they will work on the unique data resource from the 100,000 Genomes Project.  The goal of the Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) is to bring together the best researchers in the UK alongside their key international collaborators to ensure we maximise the potential of gaining new biological insights into rare inherited diseases, cancers and infectious disease.

The UK is at the forefront of learning how to apply this new technology in a healthcare setting.  Genomics England is embarking today on a unique partnership that will bring together researchers and the NHS at the earliest possible stage of the programme to accelerate translation of the findings into earlier diagnoses for patients and prime the potential for therapies in the future.

Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England said:

“We need a coalition of intellects to come together to interpret and use this incredible resource for the benefit of current and future patients. Typically it is only when researchers publish their research that it is considered for adoption into healthcare, which often takes a long time. It is our hope that introducing this novel interactive approach at the earliest phase of the 100,000 Genomes Project will lead to more rapid diagnosis and possibly new treatments for individuals affected by rare disease, cancer and infection.”

Professor Dame Kay Davies FRS, Chair of the Clinical Interpretation Partnership Board said:

“There are around 7,000 rare diseases but we only know the genetic cause of around half of these.  We know that cancer is a disease of disordered genomes but we don’t know all of the variations that drive cancer or importantly influence response to therapy.  Our offer today is for multidisciplinary teams to come together to access the 100,000 Genomes Project in a secure data centre where they will work on this very large dataset.”

Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said:

“We want to make the UK the best place in the world to discover 21st century medicines which is why we have invested in the 100,000 Genomes Project. Now we need the expertise of researchers and NHS professionals to interpret the data from the project so we get maximum benefit for patients and their families. I encourage researchers to come forward to participate.”

The 100,000 Genomes Project is currently focused on sequencing whole genomes of patients with certain rare diseases and cancers where scientists believe they can have the most impact on diagnosis and treatment. With the cost of genome sequencing decreasing, this provides the opportunity for whole genome sequencing to become part of NHS mainstream healthcare in the future.

These partnerships will include leading disease experts, experts in ethics and social sciences, computer scientists and health records researchers and will harness the knowledge and talent within the NHS and the research community to help tackle disease areas that we still know little about. The UK scientific community is being asked to propose ‘teams’  that will constitute multidisciplinary clinical, academic and training domains offering high calibre skillsets to this endeavour.  Disease domains are expected to focus on areas we are working on and some examples include rare heart disease, breast cancer and rare inherited neurological disease.

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