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NHS England announces new Genomic Medicine Centres

Yorkshire and Humber and the West of England have joined 11 NHS centres across England supporting the ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project

NHS England has added two further NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) to the 11 centres already up and running since early 2015. The new GMCs will cover two further regions: Yorkshire and Humber and West of England, and are expected to start their work in February next year.

The two new GMCs extend the geographical reach of the 100,000 Genomes Project, and will pave the way for more comprehensive coverage of genomic medicine across the NHS in England. This is good news for the future of healthcare in the country: the GMCs have a track record of providing excellence in genomic services and have been evaluated by NHS England to ensure they meet the requirements to deliver the project.

The road to 100,000 genomes

There are now 13 designated NHS GMCs across the country. It is anticipated that around 70,000 people will be involved in the 100,000 Genomes Project, which includes patients with cancer and rare inherited diseases.

The number of whole genomes sequenced to date is published each month on the Genomics England website.

Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair at Genomics England, said: “It is fantastic that patients across England now have the opportunity to take part in this pioneering project. We aim to bring benefit to participants as quickly as possible – and we hope to offer diagnoses, as well as treatment recommendations. We are also delighted with the government’s recent further investment in the 100,000 Genomes Project. This means that genomic medicine can become embedded in the NHS, and positions the UK as a world leader in personalised medicine.”

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s National Medical Director, said: “We want to become the first country to introduce whole genome sequencing as a mainstream part of our national healthcare system. Better understanding of genomics will help us transform how we care for patients, from one-size-fits-all to one-size-fits-one. These 13 NHS GMCs are on their way to bringing genomic diagnostics throughout the NHS in England, to the benefit of patients.”

Professor Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for England, who chaired the team evaluating the applicant GMCs, said: “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. Yorkshire and the Humber and the West of England joining the established 11 localities will ensure equitable access to eligible patients in these areas to take part in this ground-breaking project. It is another step towards NHS transformation.”

Find out more

Are you a health professional interested in learning about genomic medicine, and how it could impact your clinical practice? Our website has a growing range of useful resources, including short courses, films, factsheets and articles.

For more information about the 100,000 Genomes Project, visit the Genomics England website.

To read more about the new GMCs and the impact they will make within their regions and on the Project as a whole, visit NHS England’s website.