Raising Awareness of the 100,000 Genome Project at Christie Hospital

Cancer and rare diseases patients encouraged to participate in 100,000 Genomes Project

Patients with cancer and rare diseases in Greater Manchester are being encouraged to participate in a transformative, national health initiative, the 100,000 Genomes Project.

The Department of Health-backed project aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from 70,000 people nationally. The aim is to radically improve diagnosis and treatment for patients with these devastating conditions.

One of 13 regional centres established to deliver the programme, the Greater Manchester Genomic Medicine Centre includes MAHSC partners: The Christie, MFT, Salford Royal and UHSM, together with Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

An awareness raising session was recently held by The Christie to encourage eligible patients to give consent to have tissue and/or blood samples taken for the project.

Attendee, Fiona Blackhall, Professor of Thoracic Oncology and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology, said:

I am urging cancer patients, who are due to undergo surgery, to discuss with their consultant their eligibility for participation in this vital research study. Patients’ cooperation will help scientists gain new insights and understanding about the causes of cancer and, in time, develop more personalised treatments.

For rare diseases patients and their families, the 100,000 Genomes Project could mean that they get a diagnosis for the first time or discover what treatment works best. So far, 1405 patients have been recruited by the Greater Manchester GMC to the rare diseases arm of the project with about another 500 previously recruited at the pilot stage.

Also attending the session were two of The Christie’s current cancer patients, Jo Taylor and Mike Thorpe, who both gave their backing to patient participation in 100,000 Genomes.

Jo said:

Research underpins everything. If we don’t do it, how can we find better drugs, better targeted therapies and possible cures. It is hugely beneficial for future patients.

Mike said:

Research led to my cancer diagnosis. If it wasn’t for being involved in research, I don’t know where I would be now. Our job is to make things better for others.

John Radford, Professor of Medical Oncology and Director of Research at The Christie, who also visited the session, added his voice to the appeal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this initiative in having the potential to revolutionize the health of future generations. People who get or inherit what, in current patients, are often life limiting and ending diseases will benefit from much more positive outcomes, such as better diagnosis or treatment. We need as many eligible people as possible to participate from our region.

Cancer patients, due to have surgery as part of their treatment, should ask their consultant about participation, while rare diseases patients and their families should contact genetics.research@mft.nhs.uk

The Greater Manchester Genomic Medicine Centre is led from St Mary’s Hospital by Bill Newman, Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine and Honorary Consultant at MFT.