Genome British Columbia and Genomics England have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue a bold initiative to improve diagnostic capability and outcomes for patients with cancer, rare diseases and infectious diseases. The two groups are working together with the ultimate goal of sharing and co-developing information and tools, and a mechanism for the international exchange of knowledge, data and materials in the field of genomics.
The first phase of the MOU involves building expert working groups to expand and assess some of the best ideas, generate project candidates and harmonize data sharing tools and processes. The MOU also includes the establishment of cross-institutional teams to address the mutually identified priority areas of cancer, rare diseases and infectious diseases, and the enabling tool of bioinformatics. The collaboration will be managed through steering and working groups.
The second phase will roll out throughout 2016 and will include the launch of pilot projects in each strategic area. These projects will be monitored and reported upon to understand where hurdles are and where successes come from.
“This partnership is a complementary step in our Health Strategy and also supports objectives identified by BC’s Ministry of Health,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Our belief is that this relationship will catalyze the development of new genomic cohorts that will ultimately drive change in healthcare systems, both at home and abroad, as personalized approaches to disease treatment in key areas is realized.”
Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England said “We are delighted to be creating this partnership with Genome British Columbia. This will draw upon the experience of Genomics England gained in creating the 100,000 Genomes Project here in the UK and will focus on establishing a similar healthcare transformation in British Columbia. A measure of success of our mission will be whether we can convince similar healthcare systems around the world that the time is right to adopt approaches developed within the 100,000 Genomes Project to transform the application of genomic medicine in healthcare and bring better outcomes to patients worldwide.”
Genomics England, with the consent of participants and the support of the public, is creating a lasting legacy for patients, the National Health Service (NHS) and the UK economy, through the sequencing of 100,000 genomes. The 100,000 Genomes Project aims to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS – transforming the way people are cared for. Patients may be offered a diagnosis where there wasn’t one before. In time, there is the potential of new and more effective treatments. This is currently the largest national sequencing effort of its kind in the world.
Genome BC is the catalyst for research and the application of genomics in BC. The organization brings together research partners and co-investors from industry, government and academia and supports world-class innovation that is relevant to BC’s key socio-economic sectors, attracts co-investment and engagement from other organizations, and maintains partnerships with a broad cross-section of provincial research institutions.
Genomics Across the Atlantic: Genome BC Signs MOU with Genomics England