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Date: 9 April 2020

Time: 18:47

DNA helix

Genomes project goes citywide

Story posted/last updated: 04 October 2016

People are now being recruited to a ground-breaking national healthcare programme in all major hospitals across Birmingham – with nearly 2,000 signed up so far.

The 100,000 Genomes Project is an ambitious NHS England initiative which aims to improve diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases and cancers by collecting and decoding 100,000 human genomes – complete sets of people’s genes – paving the way for personalised treatment.

Eighteen NHS trusts across the region have come together to form the University Hospitals Birmingham-led West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC), one of thirteen centres nationwide helping to deliver the project.

The recruitment of a cardiac patient at City Hospital means that all of Birmingham’s major hospitals - Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Heartlands, Birmingham Children’s, Birmingham Women’s and the Royal Orthopaedic – are now signing up participants.

Professor Dion Morton, Director of the WMGMC, said: “We are delighted to be playing a key part in this ground-breaking national project.

“The West Midlands’ diverse population, coupled with the expertise of our collaborators, has the potential to not only benefit our patients but to put the region at the centre of genomics worldwide.

“With active recruitment now taking place throughout Birmingham and wider we are making a significant contribution to the national effort.

“The 100,000 Genomes Project provides the impetus to develop genomics analysis as a core component of specialist hospital services.

“It can provide a platform that will transform hospital specialist service, initiate world-class research and link up services across the West Midlands, enabling highest quality care to be provided at all our major centres across a wide range of conditions.”

Patients are also being recruited at Royal Wolverhampton, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Dudley Group Hospitals and Shrewsbury and Telford NHS trusts, with hospitals in Oswestry and Hereford expected to go live in the coming weeks.

Genome sequencing is being done on blood samples from consenting patients with rare inherited conditions and their families. Doctors hope that by comparing results with those of relatives and patients with similar conditions, they will be able to identify variations that cause disease, provide diagnoses where previously there was none and offer tailored treatment for individual patients.

Tumour samples are being sequenced in patients being treated for cancer, to help guide the use of new drug treatments.

Latest figures show that 13,040 genomes have been sequenced nationally, with only North Thames and South London GMCs providing more samples than the West Midlands.

Criteria for participation can be found on the Genomics England website.

If you think you may be eligible, talk to your doctor or contact the WMGMC team.

Tel: 0121 371 4821

Email: wmgmc@nhs.net

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