Southampton joins project to transform cancer treatment

The genome project involves 11 centres across the UK Credit: Press Association

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has been named as one of 11 centres involved in a national genome project that is set to transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases.

The Wessex NHS Genomic Medicine Centre, led by UHS with hospital partners across the region and the University of Southampton, will help to deliver the Department of Health and NHS England’s 100,000 Genomes Project.

The three-year £300 million initiative, launched by Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year, involves collecting and decoding 100,000 complete sets of people’s genes – the human genome – to help scientists and doctors understand more about specific conditions.

It is anticipated that around 75,000 people will be involved, including some patients with life threatening and debilitating diseases, and recruitment to the project will begin from February 2015.

With agreement, samples of tissue from tumours and bloods tests will be collected from patients receiving treatment at hospitals from around the Wessex region, which incorporates Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Wiltshire and parts of Sussex, Surrey and Somerset.

samples of tissue from tumours and bloods tests will be collected from patients Credit: Press Association

The samples will be sent securely to a centre run by gene sequencing specialists Illumina, who have been procured by Genomics England to sequence the whole genome and analyse it.

The results will then be sent back to the Southampton centre for clinicians to help make diagnostic and treatment decisions.