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Launch of the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine; a new collaboration bringing research benefits to the bedside

  • More than 15 disease-causing genes pinpointed since 2010
  • New diagnostic tests for blindness, cancer, heart disease, learning disorders
  • Many thousands of patients set to benefit from personalised approach to treatment
  • Centre launch marked by visit of delegation from Beijing to develop co-operation

Professor Graeme Black, Consultant in Genetic Medicine and Director of the University of Manchester Institute for Human Development today announced the launch of the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (MCGM).

The Centre brings together, in an outstanding collaboration, the NHS Genetic Medicine Service at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester's Department of Genetic Medicine. This will provide an environment for researchers, doctors, genetic counsellors, nurses, computer and diagnostic scientists to translate cutting edge research into new patient services.  This is an important development for MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre) a partnership between the University of Manchester and six NHS organisations across Greater Manchester.

The focus of MCGM is to deliver new services, treatments and tests to NHS patients and families based on discoveries by world-leading genomic science researchers at the University of Manchester and on the expertise of specialist doctors within the centre. Genetic diseases affect around 1% of all newborns and up to 30% of all individuals over their lifetime.  For those with rare diseases, diagnosis (and treatment) is often delayed for months or years but these new discoveries and novel tests will transform the ability of the NHS to help more patients sooner whilst reducing costs.

Since 2010 Manchester-based researchers have discovered more than 15 genes which cause serious developmental problems in children, blindness, deafness and inherited cancers; more breakthroughs than any other comparable centre in the UK.

The Centre's ambitious first year programme will deliver the most up to date tests using the latest DNA technologies and is the culmination of a three-year, million pound plus investment.  The investment in equipment, large scale computing and expert staff is not seen anywhere else in the NHS and has created one of the largest integrated research and diagnostic environments in Europe.

In launching the Centre Professor Graeme Black, Consultant in Genetic Medicine and Director of the University of Manchester Institute for Human Development welcomed Professor Wei-gang Fang and his colleagues from the Peking University Health Sciences Center.  Today's visit follows a delegation from the University of Manchester/CMFT to PUHSC in 2012 during which the two sides set out an intention to co-operate in Genomic Medicine. Discussions will introduce the Chinese doctors and scientists to Genomic Medicine in Manchester and share experience in establishing an integrated programme of research and clinical service delivery. The visit will culminate in the signing of a memorandum of understanding to co-operate and develop plans for closer collaboration. The delegation's visit to Manchester is linked to the launch of the new Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (MCGM).

Professor Black said: "We are developing a significant portfolio of new tests based on the combined talents of MCGM as well as expanding our range of companion tests for prescribing cancer drugs and genomic tumour profiles for clinical trials.  We are especially delighted to be working towards an NHS-based quality assured diagnostic exome sequencing service, delivered with clinical and scientific  expertise from start to finish by the Manchester multidisciplinary team.  Our vision is to make personalised medicine a reality for NHS patients."

Professor Ian Jacobs, Dean of Faculty at the University of Manchester and Director of MAHSC said: "This is an exciting step forward for our efforts to bring the benefits of cutting edge research to clinical care for the people of Manchester and to have an impact on health science and health care globally. I anticipate many more advances emerging from the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine in future months and years"

Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of CMFT said "This major development will enable many more NHS patients from Manchester and beyond to have access to the benefits of the latest genetic research delivered in an environment where quality of services for families goes hand in hand with quality of laboratory tests and effective use of resources."

Additional notes:

  1. The Centre is a collaboration of over 250 researchers, doctors, genetic counsellors, nurses and diagnostic scientists; working on themes focussed on Cancer, and Inherited Disorders. MCGM is based in 5000m2 of dedicated laboratory and clinical space in CMFT with further research facilities in the University of Manchester.
  1. The Genetics Service within MCGM sees 12,000 patients every year from across the North of England and carries out 20,000 diagnostic tests per year. Up to 4,000 new and current patients will benefit from the new tests.
  2. The Centre leads international organisations ensuring the quality and accuracy of genetic tests; linking 1,300 laboratories in more than 60 countries world-wide
  3. The Centre has an active programme of public and patient engagement. Patients are involved in research design and monitoring. Many thousands of school students visit the centre annually to take part in genomic-related programmes of activities
  4. The Centre offers teaching and training in many aspects of Genomic Medicine. It was the first centre in Europe to offer a Masters programme in Genetic Counselling, it organises international training courses in aspects of clinical genetics and now has a training programme in clinical bioinformatics.
  5. The programmed new tests include: genetic eye conditions - causing cataracts in newborn babies; inherited cardiac conditions; improved screens for severe learning and developmental conditions; new tests for tumours including breast, lung, bowel and skin cancers and the rare condition neurofibromatosis; cystic fibrosis
  1. The tests are designed to be affordable for the NHS commissioners making the test accessible to UK patients.
  2. The new tests were made possible through a million pound plus investment in equipment and staff from the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust and the University of Manchester in state of the art diagnostic laboratory and High Performance Computer facilities in the new Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine at St Mary's Hospital.
  1. Biographical note - Professor Graeme Black was appointed Professor of Genetics and Ophthalmology in 2002 and Director of the University Institute for Human Development in 2012.  He is currently a National Institute for Health Research senior investigator, is leading the development of Healthcare Genomics in Manchester and is the Chair of the new Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine.
  1. The Centre uses Life Technologies 5500xl, Illumina HiSeq 2500 and MiSeq NGS and Sequenom MassArray platforms to deliver CPA accredited services.  The Centre serves a regional population of 6m patients and provides services to the whole of the NHS and patients world-wide.