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NHS England Names 11 Genomic Medicine Centres for 100,000 Genomes Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NHS England today announced 11 Genomic Medicine Centres to lead the 100,000 Genomes Project.

The announcement marks the start of the main phase of the project in 2015 and is anticipated to include 75,000 participants, including those with life threatening and debilitating diseases. Recruitment for participants will start on Feb. 2, 2015, NHS England said. Illumina will sequence and analyze the whole genomes of patient samples procured by Genomics England, and results will be sent back to NHS for validation and clinical action.

The San Diego-based firm was chosen by Genomics England as a preferred partner during the summer for the 100,000 Genomes Project, created in 2012 by the UK government to sequence the genomes of up to 100,000 people in order to glean more information about cancer and other diseases and to better treat patients with the ailments. Genomics England, a company owned by the UK Department of Health, was set up to run the project.

The GMCs are East of England NHS GMC, led by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; South London NHS GMC, led by Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust; North West Coast NHS GMC, led by Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust; Greater Manchester NHS GMC, led by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and University College London Partners NHS GMC, led by Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Also named as GMCs were North East and North Cumbria NHS GMC, led by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Oxford NHS GMC, led by Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust; South West Peninsula NHS GMC, led by Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust; Wessex NHS GMC, led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust; Imperial College Health Partners NHS GMC, led by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; and West Midlands NHS GMC, led by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Each of the centers is designated for both cancer and rare disease, except the North East and North Cumbria center, which is designated for rare disease only.

"The creation of the new NHS Genomic Medicine Centres will play a key role in bringing together researchers, NHS clinicians, and trainees to work as part of Genomic England's Clinical Interpretation Partnership on whole-genome data that has never been collected on this scale before," Genomics England Chief Scientist Mark Caulfield said in a statement. "We have a clear goal of accelerating the findings from the program back into mainstream healthcare at the fastest possible pace, meaning more rapid results for patients."