6 December 2018
Pioneering 100,000 Genomes Project reaches its goal and thanks all involved.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has today announced that the 100,000 Genomes Project, led by Genomics England in partnership with NHS England, has reached its goal of sequencing 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients.
Locally, this work is led by Wessex Genomic Medicine Centre, which is based the University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and is supported by the AHSN.
This ground-breaking programme was launched by then-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012, with the goal of harnessing whole genome sequencing technology to uncover new diagnoses and improved treatments for patients with rare inherited diseases and cancer. The task was to make the UK a world leader within five years.
The 100,000 Genomes Project has delivered life-changing results for patients with one in four participants with rare diseases receiving a diagnosis for the first time, and providing potential actionable findings in up to half of cancer patients where there is an opportunity to take part in a clinical trial or to receive a targeted therapy.
To do this Genomics England worked with NHS England to create 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) to support the project, a state-of-the-art sequencing centre run by Illumina, Inc. and an automated analytics platform to return whole genome analyses to the NHS.
Genomics England and NHS England are extremely grateful to the 85,000 participants, 1,500 NHS staff, over 3,000 researchers, the National Institute for Health Research and the UK Government whose support and funding have been key to the success of this pioneering NHS transformation programme.
As a result the UK has become the first nation in the world to apply whole genome sequencing at scale in direct healthcare, as well as providing access to high quality de-identified clinical and genomic data for research aimed at improving patient outcomes.
The project has laid the foundations for a NHS Genomic Medicine Service, which will provide equitable access to genomic testing to patients across the NHS from 2019.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Sequencing the 100,000th genome is a major milestone in the route to the healthcare of the future. From Crick and Watson onwards, Britain has led the world in this amazing technology. We do so again today as we map a course to sequencing a million genomes. Understanding the human code on such a scale is part of our mission to provide truly personalised care to help patients live longer, healthier and happier lives.
"I’m incredibly excited about the potential of this type of technology to unlock the next generation of treatments, diagnose diseases earlier, save lives and enable patients to take greater control of their own health."
You can find out more about the amazing work of the Wessex GMC in the two patient story videos below. There are also videos and presentations from the recent celebration event here.