The Garvan Institute of Medical Research has signed a memorandum of understanding with Genomics England, the organisation established by the UK’s Department of Health to deliver the world-first 100,000 Genomes Project. The two organisations will share resources and expertise to advance genomic medicine in Australia and the UK.
The 100,000 Genomes Project will sequence genomes from around 70,000 National Health Service (NHS) patients, focusing on individuals with rare diseases or cancer. Through the project, Genomics England aims to bring benefit to patients, build capability in the burgeoning area of genomic medicine, and advance medical research.
Under the terms of the agreement, Garvan and Genomics England will work together to make genomic information more accessible, meaningful and usable, particularly by developing better ways to capture clinical information and integrate it with genomic data.
In addition, the two institutions will collaborate to develop next-generation genomics databases and to establish clear ethical and legal frameworks around the use of genomic information. They will also collaborate to design educational resources about clinical genomics for health professionals and the wider public.
Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of Garvan, says that partnering with Genomics England is an important step in the development of Australia’s genomics capacity.
Professor Mattick says, “This agreement is an important step for both nations. It enables us to use our complementary expertise to advance our shared vision of the global transformation of medicine through the use of genomic information.”
Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England, says, “I am delighted we are collaborating with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia. This partnership will allow us to share tools and approaches to harmonise datasets in Australia and the UK. Our aim is to support other countries in establishing similar programmes to the 100,000 Genomes Project around the world.”
As one of Australia’s leading medical research institutions, Garvan develops research programs that combine leading-edge science with clinical outcomes. In 2012, Garvan established the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics (KCCG), the largest sequencing centre in the southern hemisphere. KCCG is undertaking research and developing innovative analytical pipelines to advance the use of whole-genome sequencing in clinical diagnosis and patient care.