The South London Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC) has been set up to help gain a better understanding of the genetic causes of cancer and rare diseases. It is one of 13 GMCs across England and is part of the Government’s 100,000 Genomes Project. The Project aims to sequence and analyse 100,000 genomes from people with cancer or rare diseases.
The South London GMC comprises four leading NHS hospitals who are working together. These are:
Each GMC is responsible for a specific geography and has a lead NHS organisation – in the case of South London this is Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. In turn, the GMC works with other NHS organisations within their boundary as local delivery partners to ensure that as many eligible patients as possible are able to take part in the 100,000 Genomes Project.
These Trusts serve the population of South London and also provide clinical genetic services into Kent, Surrey and Sussex – altogether a population of over seven million people.
We are advised by an alliance of local healthcare organisations – including St George’s University, King’s College London, Macmillan Cancer Support, Genetic Alliance UK, Health Innovation Network and Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network. See ‘Our Partners’ for further information about these organisations.
The GMC is part of a world-leading programme in the use of genomics to benefit patients. This work will help to make genomic medicine part of the main stream in the NHS and improve our ability to more precisely diagnose disease and personalise treatment.
By December 2017 the South London partnership aims to recruit up to 8,000 patients to the 100,000 Genomes Project. We are working with patients and their families who have inherited rare diseases and with patients who have been given a new diagnosis of cancer. The specific diseases covered by the Project are identified under ‘Scope’. The initiative is supported by a major research effort to discover patterns about specific genetic conditions, using the whole genome sequencing data that is generated.
“Positive results from the 100,000 Genomes Project will mean that we can be absolutely confident in telling patients exactly what condition they have. We may also know other patients with the same condition and can pool information from groups of similar patients so we can get a better idea of how people have been affected, and can start to learn more about which treatments have been successful and which ones have been less so.”
Professor Frances Flinter, Consultant Clinical Geneticist
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Every step of the 100,000 Genomes Project – from identification, recruitment, consent, sample collection and processing, data capture and submission through to validation, feedback of information to individuals and the subsequent treatment and management – requires the consistency and academic rigour of a huge multi-scientific research programme. All GMCs work to a highly detailed service specification set by NHS England. This common approach ensures consistency and coherence across the NHS to gain maximum benefits from this application of genomic technologies.
NHS GMCs have been explicitly designed to encourage integration between existing laboratory and genetics services, other diagnostic services and broader clinical specialties. This focus on genomics is already beginning to drive improvements in standards, quality and practice across many areas, delivering benefits in outcomes for all NHS patients and becoming part of the routine diagnostic pathway.