The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Research and Innovation

Leeds is key partner as region joins the genomic medicine revolution

15 December 2015

The Yorkshire and Humber region will be playing a key role in the development of personalised medicine through the establishment of a new Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC).

NHS England has now announced that the region has been given approval to set up the centre as part of the national 100,000 Genome Project.

The groundbreaking project involves looking at the genomes of patients with certain rare diseases and patients with certain cancers. By comparing the genomes from lots of people, the Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC) will help to give a better understanding of the diseases, how they develop and which treatments may provide the greatest help to future patients.

The bid was led by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and supported by the other 11 acute trusts in the region along with our major Universities. It was also supported by direct input from patients and the public, which places the public in Yorkshire and Humber at the heart of crucial developments and improvements in healthcare.

Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said:  “I am extremely proud that joint working with our colleagues in Sheffield and right across the Yorkshire and Humber region has made this centre a reality, allowing us to pool our expertise and set ambitious goals to help transform patient care.

“Genomics is key to the future of medicine and the partnership means local patients with inherited genetic disorders and cancer will benefit through the provision of more efficient diagnosis and better patient information and by enabling access to the next generation of targeted therapies.”

Simon Morritt, Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s and Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber GMC Partnership Board, said: “Getting approval for a Yorkshire and Humber centre is fantastic news for our region. By working together, we will be helping to transform healthcare not only in the region but around the world.

“Genomic medicine is an opportunity to turn the scientific discoveries about DNA and how it works into active steps to improve the lives of future patients and identify lifesaving and life improving treatments”.

“Yorkshire and Humber already has some of the world’s most advanced and respected genetics services and has extensive experience with clinical and academic research, so we are delighted to build on that expertise with our new Genomic Medicine Centre.”

Understanding DNA and how it can predict and prevent disease, provide a precise diagnosis and direct targeted treatment will play a role in every aspect of medicine, from cancer to cardiology, in the future.

This is good news for the future of healthcare in this 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.

A selection of patients with certain rare diseases or cancers will be invited to join the project. People have full control over whether they take part in the project and will be given all the information they need to give informed consent.

As many rare diseases are inherited, for rare disease patients researchers will also be analysing the genomes of two of their closest blood relatives. These relatives will be taken through the same consent process and can choose to opt out if they prefer.

Clinicians involved in the patient's care will have access to the information to aid diagnosis and treatment. Any data used for research purposes will be anonymised and securely stored.

The new centre will go live from 4 January 2016.

Notes to editors

The Yorkshire and Humber Genomic Medicine Centre lead partner is Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Other delivery partners include:

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust