Healthcare in the Yorkshire and Humber region moved into a new era this week, as the first patients were recruited for the 100,000 Genomes Project through the Yorkshire & Humber NHS Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC).
The 100,000 Genomes Project is a ground breaking initiative, launched by the Prime Minister in 2012, which aims to decode the DNA sequences of 100,000 genomes from people who have a rare disease or condition, their families, and people with cancer.
Donna Proctor, a 49-year-old domestic supervisor at Seacroft Hospital, became the first person to provide a blood sample for the Yorkshire & Humber GMC as she is being investigated for a rare disease which results in an inherited predisposition to cancer.
Patients who participate in the programme are enabling scientists and doctors to learn more about specific conditions, identifying potential genetic causes and transforming the way diagnosis and treatment can take place in the future.
Afterwards Donna, pictured with Dr Julian Adlard, said: “This could make all the difference for people in the future if it helps researchers find different treatments or cures for cancers. I think it is a really positive thing to do and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to take part if they can.”
Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP said: “Our revolutionary 100,000 Genomes Project is bringing twenty-first century medicine to NHS patients in Yorkshire and Humber.
“Recruiting the first patient not only confirms the region’s vital role in enhancing the UKs reputation as a world-leader in medical science, it will also help to pioneer new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer and rare diseases.”
Dr Julian Adlard, Consultant at the Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Identifying the genetic changes that may cause diseases will help us to gain better understanding of the disease and, as a result, develop potential new life-saving treatments.”
Dr Andrew Jack, Clinical Director for the Yorkshire and Humber GMC project added: “Genomics is key to the future of medicine. Patients with inherited genetic disorders and cancer will benefit through the provision of more efficient diagnosis, better patient information and by enabling access to the next generation of targeted therapies.
“We will achieve this by harnessing the enthusiasm of clinicians and patients across the region.”
Professor Sue Hill, the Chief Scientific Officer for England said: “This is a great step forward for healthcare in Yorkshire and Humber and another step in keeping NHS care at the cutting edge of science. The contribution of people like Donna, and many, many others like her, is helping to build the future of health care across the country.
“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. This is another step towards building the knowledge and skills to improve care for generations to come.”
The Yorkshire & Humber GMC is a joint collaboration between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust working closely with all 22 NHS health trusts in the region supported by the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network. There are 13 Genomic Medicine Centres across the country.
For information on the 100,000 Genomes Project please visit the website: http://www.genomicsengland.co.uk/the-100000-genomes-project/ or email Yhgmc@nhs.net