From Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair, Genomics England:
Genomic Medicine hit the headlines this month with the publication of the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) 2016 Annual Report − ‘Generation Genome’. In her report, Dame Sally Davies details the potential of genomics and calls for it to progress from a “cottage industry” into routine NHS care − underlining and supporting the objectives of the 100,000 Genomes Project.
Publication of such a report helps to place genomics at the top of the political agenda and at the heart of health policy. It is a hugely encouraging move that will see much of the work undertaken by NHS England, Genomics England and others – as well as the learning from the 100,000 Genomes Project − embedded into mainstream care. I believe that it brings the day when everyone can benefit from Genomic Medicine much closer. As Dame Sally says, “Genomics is not tomorrow. It’s here today”.
The launch of the CMO’s report coincided with a joint Genomics England and Progress Educational Trust event, ‘What Next for Genomics? Providing Answers, Changing Lives, Transforming the NHS’. Held at the Wellcome Trust in London, speakers included: Dame Sally; NHS England’s Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Sue Hill; and Chair of Genomics England’s Ethics Advisory Committee, Mike Parker. A recording of this event is available via our website.
One of Dame Sally’s most important observations is the need to ensure that patients and the public understand, support and participate in the genomics revolution. After all, without your support (and ultimately millions of people like you), Genomic Medicine cannot achieve its potential. Genomics England and NHSE will be working together on a range of initiatives aimed at building a dialogue with patients and the public.
This will build on the Genomics Conversation we began in 2016. This had with a focus on rare disease and we learned much about levels of public understanding of genomics and the issues that cause most concern. In 2017 we hope to also turn our focus towards cancer. We will be planning a variety of events with public/patient, parliamentary, clinical, scientific and industry organisations to broaden the scope of our dialogue and we will publish details of relevant events on our website.
With developments such as the CMO’s report, news that we have now sequenced over 31,000 genomes and our Genomic Medicine Centres are celebrating important milestones up and down the country, I believe that we have reached the tipping point. We are now on a trajectory that will deliver mainstream Genomic Medicine to everyone. As ever, I would like to thank you for your support, commitment and understanding – without which none of this would be possible.
Click on the link to view the lecture about “what is next for genetics” by the Chief Medical Officer