Genomics England Partners With The UK’s Largest Biosample Facility
News Feb 18, 2015
Genomics England has announced a partnership with the NIHR National Biosample Centre, opened in January by the Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman. The £24 million state-of-the-art facility will store the samples of rare disease and cancer patients taking part in the 100,000 Genomes Project.
The Milton Keynes-based Centre, which is the largest biosample facility in the UK, was opened to help increase national capacity and capability to develop research. The NIHR National Biosample Centre will store and process biological samples such as blood, tumour tissue and saliva, keeping samples at temperatures as low as -80°C. It will also undertake a range of precision analyses, including extraction of DNA.
James Peach, Managing Director for the Genomics England Main Programme said:
“This agreement is a huge milestone for the 100,000 Genomes Project as we embark on the main phase of sequencing. The NIHR National Biosample Centre’s robust infrastructure and latest technology will enable high calibre research and new scientific insights. Ultimately this will mean new diagnostics and treatments for the benefit of patients”
Dr Tim Peakman, CEO of UK Biocentre, which will run the Biosample resource said:
“We are delighted to be supporting such an important initiative as Genomics England and its goal to improve health. Samples from participants are a precious and depletable resource so it is important they are shipped, stored and retrieved to the highest standards in ways that protect the anonymity of the donors and ensures they will be able to help researchers answer key health questions. UK Biocentre uses the knowledge gained in developing UK Biobank to support studies like Genomics England and to make sure scientists have the best resources to make the health advances we all want to see.”
As genome editing technologies advance toward clinical therapies, they are raising hopes of a completely new way to treat disease. However, challenges need to be addressed before potential treatments can be widely used in patients. To tackle these challenges, the National Institutes of Health has launched the Somatic Cell Genome Editing program, which has awarded multiple grants including more than $3.6 million to assess the safety of genome editing in human cells and tissues.