New genomic alliance to progress personalised medicine

A new Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (GMSA) covering North London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire has been launched to support systematic implementation of genomic medicine into the mainstream healthcare system.

The NHS North Thames Genomic Medicine Service Alliance is one of seven alliances announced by NHS England who have established these alliances nationwide to ensure coverage of the whole of England to bring together multi-disciplinary clinical leadership. This will include clinicians, nurses, midwives, clinical scientists and pharmacists working in both primary and secondary care, the Genomic Laboratory Hubs, Cancer Alliances, research and academia. The alliance will be supported by UCLPartners and Imperial College Health Partners AHSNs.

The GMSAs will work with patients and public representatives to build trust in genomics, and develop and educate the workforce to enable all staff across the NHS to use genomics safely, effectively and efficiently thereby improving care for patients.

By taking this approach, the aim is for the NHS to become the first health service in the world to systematically embed genomics into routine care and make significant strides to create a system focused on improving health, not just by treating illness, but by better understanding the underlying cause, enabling more accurate prediction of outcomes and tailoring of treatments to individuals.

The priority areas for the NHS North Thames Genomic Medicine Service Alliance will include Lynch Syndrome (cancer), and Familial Hypercholesterolemia (cardiovascular disease). Further areas will be agreed with NHSE/I and partner organisations.

Professor Mike Roberts, Managing Director of UCLPartners, said: “The NHS North Thames Genomic Medicine Service Alliance, supported by UCLPartners, in collaboration with Imperial College Health Partners and the North Thames Trusts, provides an exciting opportunity to build on the 100,000 Genomes programme, progressing personalised medicine for the benefit of the population across north London, Herts and Essex.”

Professor Julian Redhead, Medical Director, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The NHS are world leaders in harnessing the power and potential of genomics and through the NHS GMSA Alliances we will be further able to spread this work and enhance our ability to embed genomics into routine personalised care. It is a great opportunity to work in collaboration for our patients in North London, Herts and Essex to be at the heart of these innovations.”

Professor Lyn Chitty, Medical Director North Thames Genomic Laboratory Hub, said: ““It’s great that we have the funding to establish the North Thames GMSA to enable us to continue the work started in the 100,000 Genomes project and really begin to embed genomics in mainstream medicine at all levels. It’s going to be a challenge, but in North Thames we have a wealth of clinical and academic expertise and together we will all help make the NT GMSA a success for the benefit of our patients.”