Genomics England announces appointment of new Chief Scientific Officer

Genomics England today announces the appointment of Professor Matt Brown as the organisation’s new Chief Scientific Officer following a rigorous recruitment process.

Professor Brown is an internationally renowned clinician-scientist, and is currently Professor of Medicine at King’s College London, as well as Director of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre.

He has a deep background in genomics, and has previously been Director of Genomics and Distinguished Professor at the Queensland University of Technology.

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Genomics England’s PanelApp at the heart of international collaboration

Using the PanelApp platform, Australian Genomics and Genomics England joined forces to tackle the challenges of assessing evidence for gene-disease associations and integrating it into diagnostic practice.

Accurate clinical diagnoses rely on the knowledge we have about which genes cause disease, but currently there is still a lot of variability in the understanding of gene panels, with over 4,000 known gene-disease associations and more published year on year.

Together, the two teams published a new study in the American Journal of Human Genetics on 30 July,

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New public dialogue finds support for the use of whole genome sequencing in newborn screening – providing that the right safeguards and resources are in place

Father holding baby

A new national public dialogue commissioned by Genomics England, the UK National Screening Committee and UK Research and Innovation’s Sciencewise programme finds that members of the public are broadly supportive of the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) in newborn screening. However, they expect proper consideration to be given to designing and planning any future use of this technology. This, they recommend, includes involving the public and ensuring appropriate resources, investment and safeguards are in place.

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New algorithm flags genetic weaknesses in cancer tumours

A study funded by Cancer Research UK and published today in the journal Nature Cancer, has found a new way to identify tumours which could be sensitive to particular cancer therapies and has been developed using data from NHS cancer patients in the 100,000 Genomes Project. The new algorithm, called MMRDetect, allows researchers to see which tumour cells have weaknesses in their ability to repair themselves and means cancer patients can receive personalised treatments.

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New PHG Foundation report on Sano Genetics patient engagement platform

Today the PHG Foundation has published its report, commissioned by Genomics England, examining the legal and ethical implications of an online platform for patient engagement in precision medicine research being developed by Sano Genetics.

In May 2020, Genomics England announced that it was collaborating with precision medicine research start-up Sano Genetics and data management firm Zetta Genomics to develop a platform that would allow rare disease patients and their caregivers to add vital additional information about their health and wellbeing to research databases.

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Landmark strategy launched to cement UK’s position as global leader in genomics

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has today heralded the launch of a landmark new strategy which will secure the UK’s future position as a global leader in genomics.

The new National Genomic Healthcare Strategy – Genome UK – will ensure the UK can offer patients the best possible predictive, preventative and personalised care by harnessing the potential of advanced genome sequencing.

The strategy sets out how the UK genomics community – from researchers through to the NHS – will come together to harness the latest advances in genetic and genomic science,

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Baroness Dido Harding stepping down from Genomics England Board

Baroness Dido Harding has decided to step down from the Board of Genomics England with immediate effect, to concentrate on her role as interim Chair of the newly formed National Institute for Health Protection, as well as her on-going role as Chair of NHS Improvement.

We’re hugely grateful to Dido for her contribution to Genomics England, for sharing her knowledge and experience during her time on the Board, and also for her direction and counsel during her time as our interim Chair.  

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100th birthday of pioneering British scientist Rosalind Franklin

The Chair of Genomics England is calling on young women across the United Kingdom to follow in the footsteps of Rosalind Franklin, a British chemist and X-ray crystallographer who played a key role in the discovery of DNA, and whose centenary is being celebrated today.

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, a former Minister for Life Sciences at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), paid tribute to Franklin, whose contribution to discoveries about DNA made possible the sequencing of the human genome,

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Genomics England launches next-generation research platform central to UK COVID-19 response

British tech company Lifebit and Amazon Web Services to support a dedicated environment for researchers working on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments

Genomics England (GEL) has today launched a next-generation genomic research platform that will play a key role in the research response to COVID-19. This ground-breaking research environment will transform how genomic data is made usable for global biopharma and academic researchers. It will provide world-class patient data security,

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UK leading on patient-centric precision medicine research

A novel system which will allow rare disease patients and their caregivers to add additional information about themselves to research databases is being developed by Sano Genetics in collaboration with Zetta Genomics and Genomics England. The system will add an important layer of patient derived information to the groundbreaking precision medicine research being carried out through Genomics England. The information provided by individuals may be reported by participants directly, for example daily symptom tracking,

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New partnership to sequence human genomes in the fight against coronavirus

  • Genetic susceptibility to coronavirus to be tested in ground-breaking nationwide study
  • Genomes of thousands of patients with coronavirus will be sequenced to understand how a person’s genetic makeup could influence how they react to the virus
  • Genomics England partners with University of Edinburgh to lead research drive to support the search for new treatments

Find out how to register interest to take part in the GenOMICC study. Read more >

Baroness Blackwood appointed Chair of Genomics England

Baroness Nicola Blackwood has been appointed Chair of Genomics England, succeeding Baroness Dido Harding, who has served as Interim Chair since November 2019.

Genomics England was established in 2013 to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project in partnership with the NHS and helped to cement the UK’s world-leading position in genomic science.  Following the successful sequencing of 100,000 whole genomes in December 2018, Baroness Blackwood will support Genomics England through its next phase of development,

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Participants in 100,000 Genomes Project instrumental in ground-breaking advance in understanding of bowel cancer growth

Genomic data provided by participants in the 100,000 Genomes Project has helped Cancer Research UK researchers identify how a common type of gut bacteria could contribute to bowel cancer.

The research, undertaken by a team of international researchers led by Professor Hans Clevers in the Netherlands, shows that a toxin called colibactin released by a strain of E. coli, causes unique patterns of DNA damage to the cells lining the gut.

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Genomics England and Illumina partner to deliver whole genome sequencing for England’s NHS Genomic Medicine Service

Genomics England and Illumina today announced a new agreement to deliver up to 300,000 whole genome equivalents over the next five years, with an option to increase to 500,000. Samples will be provided through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service and the network of seven genomic laboratory hubs across England, which were established in 2018. This supports NHS England’s ambition to lead the world in introducing whole genome sequencing into routine healthcare.

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Chris Wigley appointed CEO of Genomics England

Genomics England has today announced the appointment of Chris Wigley as Chief Executive Officer, with effect from 1 October.

Chris joins Genomics England from QuantumBlack, a world leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Machine learning is critical in the analysis of the vast amounts of data involved in genomics, so Chris’ expertise in this area will be invaluable in driving Genomics England’s pioneering work with the NHS to realise the true potential of genomic medicine.

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Leading genomics expert awarded knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours

Professor Mark Caulfield, the interim Chief Executive at Genomics England and Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London, has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Since 2013 Professor Caulfield has been instrumental in delivering the world-leading 100,000 Genomes Project, which hit its target of sequencing 100,000 whole genomes in 2018 and has already delivered life-changing results for patients.

This NHS transformation programme used whole genome sequencing to bring new diagnoses to people with rare diseases and to help choose cancer therapies.

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Matching mitochondria – Important new research uses 100,000 Genomes Project data

Scientists publish new research using data from the 100,000 Genomes Project rare disease programme

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have announced a discovery about the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA using data from the 100,000 Genomes Project. The scientists are part of the neurology domain of the Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP). These important scientific findings represent the beginning of a stream of valuable discoveries that will come from the 100,000 Genomes Project data.

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A major new dialogue has found the public are enthusiastic and optimistic about the potential for genomic medicine but have clear red lines on use of data

The more widespread use of genomic medicine – applying knowledge about a person’s genetic information to guide and improve their healthcare – will change the relationship between the UK public and the NHS, according to a new report launched today. ‘A public dialogue on genomic medicine: time for a new social contract?’ explored public aspirations, concerns, and expectations about the development of genomic medicine in the UK. It was commissioned by Genomics England and co-funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Sciencewise programme in support of public dialogue on scientific and technological issues.

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Genomics England and industry partners complete first phase of liquid biopsy study

Genomics England has announced the successful completion of the first phase of its collaboration with Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific to investigate the use of liquid biopsies in cancer. This is part of a pilot project aiming to:

  • assess the suitability of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) samples collected by the NHS during the 100,000 Genomes Project
  • perform objective technology evaluation of the various market offerings in liquid biopsy
  • generate evidence for the potential consideration of such technology implementation in future routine healthcare for better disease treatment or prevention

Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific analysed around 200 blood plasma samples,

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Jonathan Symonds appointed new Chair of Genomics England

Jonathan Symonds CBE is to be appointed the new Chair of Genomics England. Following the success of the 100,000 Genomes Project, Genomics England announces that its Chair, Sir John Chisholm will step down on 29 January 2019. Sir John, who has led the company since its inception in 2013, indicated his decision to leave to the Board once Genomics England realised its 5 year ambition to sequence 100,000 whole genomes in early December.

Jonathan Symonds has more than 30 years’ experience across a spectrum of life science enterprises.

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