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100,000 Genomes Project

Volume 607: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2016

6. What progress the 100,000 Genomes Project has made on providing UK leadership for international developments in precision medicine. (904255)

Our groundbreaking 100,000 Genomes Project, which was announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister as part of our 10-year life sciences strategy, represents the moonshot of medicine in making the UK the first nation on earth to sequence the entire genetic sequence of 100,000 genomes from NHS patients. Through our precision medicine strategy, the launch of 13 genomics medicine centres in the NHS, funding from Government and the precision medicine catapult, we are winning international plaudits and attracting inward investment, as a sign of our commitment to a 21st century NHS.

I recently visited the medical school in Nottingham where I saw the great work being carried out, including groundbreaking genomics work on identifying Alzheimer’s risk genes. What support is the Department providing to ensure that work is fully funded and expanded, so that the east midlands and the UK continue to be world leaders in the search for treatments and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s, based on our research?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend, who had a distinguished career in the life science sector, including through setting up her own business. She is right to highlight the work at Nottingham University which, along with Leicester and Birmingham, represents something of an east midlands powerhouse. The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is part of the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre, recruiting patients and becoming one of our hubs for NHS genomics medicine. In addition, we are actively supporting research into Alzheimer’s through our £1 billion a year National Institute for Health Research budget, the £150 million Dementia Research Institute and our dementia plan. I continue to lead conversations with dementia charities.