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Manchester Unites with NHS on New Genomic Medicine Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Manchester today launched a new center for clinical genomics that will develop genetic tests and companion diagnostics and use them along with sequencing tools in the treatment of patients through the UK National Health Service.

The new Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine (MCGM) is a collaboration between the university's Department of Genetic Medicine and the NHS Genetic Medicine Service at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The MCGM at St. Mary's Hospital was funded with £1 million ($1.5 million) in equipment, staff, a diagnostics lab, and high performance computing facilities, from the NHS Trust and the University of Manchester.

The partners expect that the new collaborative facilities will create an environment in which physicians, genetic counselors, nurses, and diagnostic and computer scientists will pursue new projects and develop services that engage patients in personalized medicine.

"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 tumor profiles for clinical trials," University of Manchester Professor Graeme Black said in a statement today.

This portfolio includes new tests for breast, lung, bowel, and skin cancer tumors, cystic fibrosis, genetic eye conditions that cause cataracts in newborns, inherited cardiac conditions, and screening for severe learning and developmental conditions. The tests are based on discoveries by Manchester-based researchers of over 15 genes that cause serious developmental problems in children.

"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," Black added. "Our vision is to make personalized medicine a reality for NHS patients."

The center will use Life Technologies' 5500xl, Illumina's HiSeq 2500 and MiSeq NGS, and Sequenom's MassArray systems in delivering its testing services.

The university also said that it is developing a memorandum of understanding with colleagues from the Peking University Health Sciences Center, under which the MCGM and PUHSC will establish an integrated research and clinical delivery program.