News and Views from Scotland

Increased Cash for Scottish Genomes Partnership Research

Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Visiting Scottish Precision Medicine Ecosystem

The Scottish Government has recently announced £6m of investment for the Scottish Genomes Partnership (SGP), a cutting edge medical research collaboration between Scottish universities and the National Health Service.

The announcement follows on from £4 million investment that was announced by the First Minister for the Scottish Precision Medicine Ecosystem (that's their building pictured on the left), which will work closely with the SGP, and £3.5 million funds for industry-led projects in Genomic Medicine contributed by Scottish Enterprise.

The aim of the investment is to offer more rapid diagnosis to rare disease patients or a diagnosis where one hasn't been possible before.

The SGP is a collaboration of Scottish Universities and the NHS capitalising on £15 million investment in whole genome sequencing technology by the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Scottish Government is contributing £4 million of the funding and the Medical Research Council, £2 million.

It is hoped that by combining knowledge of the whole genome sequence - or the entire genetic code - of patients and information from their health records, genetic diseases can be understood better and new ways to test, manage and treat these diseases devised. SGP will be using this technology for genomic research on rare diseases, cancers and Scottish populations, and to work with Genomics England on the diagnosis of patients in Scotland with rare genetic diseases.

The Scottish Genomes Partnership was founded following a £15m investment by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in January 2015. This initial funding enabled the Universities to partner with Illumina for the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment for sequencing human genomes. The equipment enables researchers and clinicians in Scotland to study the genomes of both healthy and sick people on a large scale and faster than before.

Professor Anna Dominiczak (pictured on the right), Vice-Principal and Head of the University of Glasgow's College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences said: "We are very pleased and proud to be a partner in the Scottish Genomes Partnership, and welcome this further investment into the future of precision medicine in Scotland.

"The SGP will play a significant role within the recently-established Scottish Ecosystem for Precision Medicine, which will co-ordinate clinical, laboratory and informatics resources and opportunities across Scotland.
"Through collaborations like the SGP, and a partnership with Precision Medicine Catapult to lead the National Centre of Excellence, Scotland will be at the forefront of developing cutting-edge precision medicine technologies, with the aim to deliver the right drug for the right patient at the right time.
"We're extremely proud to playing a leading role in the SGP, and the wider Scottish Precision Medicine Ecosystem."

Anna Dominiczak is the first female Regius professor of medicine and head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, which recently broke ground on its latest project, a multimillion pound clinical imaging centre. Last week she was ranked among the 50 Movers and Shakers- female leaders in bio business playing a key role in driving the growth of bioscience in the UK - by BioBeat, a programme to inspire the next wave of bio entrepreneurs and business leaders. Glasgow's College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences has 5,000 students and a staff of 2,000. (Photo of Prof Anna here: )

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23 April 2016

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