Patients to benefit from new Genomic Medicine Centre

Patients in the West of England are set to benefit from a new NHS Genomic Medicine Centre.

The CCG is a member of a partnership called the West of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre which includes NHS providers and commissioners, universities,  patient organisations and the West of England Academic Health Science Network.

Up and running by February 2016, the centre, based in Bristol, will be part of a three-year project, launched by the Prime Minister, to transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases.

This involves collecting and decoding 100,000 human genomes – complete sets of people’s genes – that will enable scientists and doctors to understand more about specific conditions. It could allow personalisation of drugs and other treatments to specific genetic variants.

Clinicians from the hospitals involved will recruit potentially eligible patients. Then patients choosing to be involved will take part in a test which will then be processed in a lab at Southmead Hospital, before being sent nationally for sequencing.

Some of the patients involved could benefit from a quicker conclusive diagnosis for a rare and inherited disease or cancer because treatment may be targeted at a particular genetic change.

Dr Ian Orpen, Clinical Chair at the CCG said:

“This is excellent news for the population of Bath and North East Somerset. It means local people will have the opportunity to play a role in understanding the genetics behind rare diseases and cancers which will help us to develop new and more targeted treatments for these conditions.

“This represents the future of medicine, as we gain better understanding on why diseases affect individuals differently and will allow us to tailor treatments accordingly.”

Caroline Gamlin, NHS England South West Medical Director, said:

“This is a huge tribute to the quality of our medical science in the west. Our local doctors will help to create ground-breaking discoveries about diseases, predict who is susceptible and design personalised treatments to tackle them.”